Emotional hyperthermia is the increase in body temperature that occurs as a response to an animal detecting a salient, survival-relevant stimulus. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis, controlled via its sympathetic innervation, contributes to this temperature increase. Here, we have used an intruder rat experimental model to determine whether quinpirole-mediated activation of dopamine D2 receptors attenuates emotional hyperthermia in conscious rats. In anesthetized rats, we determined whether systemic quinpirole reduces BAT nerve discharge induced by activation of the medullary raphé and the lateral habenula (LHb). We measured BAT and body temperature with chronically implanted thermistors in conscious, freely moving, individually housed, male rats (resident rats). Either vehicle or quinpirole was administered, intraperitoneally, to the resident rat 30 min before introduction of a caged intruder rat. Quinpirole, in a dose-dependent manner, reduced intruder-elicited increases in BAT and body temperature. Pre-treatment with the D2 antagonist spiperone, but not the selective D1 antagonist SCH-23390, prevented this quinpirole-elicited decrease. In anesthetized rats, quinpirole abolished BAT sympathetic nerve discharge elicited by bicuculline-mediated activation of the LHb, but not the medullary raphé. Thus, activation of dopamine D2 receptors reduces the BAT thermogenesis that contributes to emotional hyperthermia. We provide evidence that these dopamine D2 receptors are located in the thermogenic pathway between the LHb and the lower brainstem pre-sympathetic control centre in the medullary raphé.
- Emotional hyperthermia