Despite a number of clinically useful effects, there is growing evidence that psychosis and impulse control disorders develop in patients on apomorphine therapy. Evidence suggests a critical role of serotonin-1A receptors in psychosis, drug abuse, and in the mechanism of action of the prototypical selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine. We investigated whether fluoxetine can prevent apomorphine-induced behavioral sensitization in a rat model of psychosis. Animals treated with fluoxetine (5 and 10 mg/kg) for 2 weeks were subsequently cotreated with apomorphine (1.0 mg/kg) for 7 days. A single injection of apomorphine increased motor activity, whereas repeated daily injections produced a progressive sensitization of motor behavior. The sensitization effects of apomorphine did not occur in fluoxetine-pretreated and subsequently cotreated animals. To further elucidate the mechanism involved in the inhibition of apomorphine sensitization in fluoxetine-treated animals, we found that apomorphine-induced motor behavior was much greater in repeated apomorphine-treated than repeated saline-treated animals. It was also greater in apomorphine and fluoxetine-cotreated animals, but not in animals pretreated and cotreated with fluoxetine. The mechanism involved in the inhibition of apomorphine sensitization in fluoxetine-pretreated animals is discussed. The findings introduce an innovative approach for extending the therapeutic use of apomorphine and classical psychostimulant drugs.
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