Neurobehavioral Plasticity: Learning, Development, and Response to Brain Insults

By Norman E. Spear; Linda P. Spear et al. | Go to book overview

18
Development of Dopamine Systems and Behavior

Carol Van Hartesveldt University of Florida

The research described in this chapter involves the development of dopamine systems as measured by very simple motor behaviors. My interest in the idea that different behaviors may be chemically coded within brain regions originated with Neil Miller's ( 1965) description of the fact that noradrenaline could induce eating, and acetylcholine, drinking, when administered through the same cannula in the lateral hypothalamus. My interest in development is entirely a consequence of my long association with Bob Isaacson as a faculty member at the University of Florida. He is well known for his research on early brain damage and behavior, but his knowledge and ideas about neural development were, and are, wide-ranging. Slowly, developmental themes began creeping into my lectures, and finally they have taken over my research.


DEVELOPMENT OF THE MESOSTRIATAL DOPAMINE SYSTEM

The mesostriatal dopamine system in the rat seems to offer an ideal opportunity to study the development of neurotransmitters and behavior, both because of the amount of postnatal development of the system and because of the behaviors that the system modulates. With respect to development, although most cells have migrated to both the substantia nigra ( Specht, Pickel, Joh, & Reis, 1981) and the striatum ( Das & Altman, 1970)

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