Despite extensive investigation, the cellular mechanisms responsible for neuroleptic actions remain elusive. We have previously shown that neuroleptics modulated the expression of some members of the ligand-activated transcription factors (nuclear receptors) including the nerve-growth factor inducible gene B (NGFI-B or Nur77) and retinoid X receptor (RXR) isoforms. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we investigated the role of NGFI-B and retinoids in acute behavioral and biochemical responses to dopamine antagonists. NGFI-B knockout (KO) mice display a profound alteration of haloperidol-induced catalepsy and striatal neuropeptide gene expression. Haloperidol-induced increase of striatal enkephalin mRNA is totally abolished in NGFI-B KO mice whereas the increase of neurotensin mRNA expression is reduced by 50%. Interestingly, catalepsy induced by raclopride, a specific dopamine D 2/D3 antagonist is completely abolished in NGFI-B-deficient mice whereas the cataleptic response to SCH 23390, a dopamine D1 agonist, is preserved. Accordingly, the effects of haloperidol on striatal c-fos, Nor-1, and dynorphin mRNA expression are also preserved in NGFI-B-deficient mice. The cataleptic response and the increase of enkephalin mRNA expression induced by haloperidol can also be suppressed by administration of retinoid ligands 9-cis retinoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. In addition, we demonstrate that haloperidol enhances colocalization of NGFI-B and RXRγI isoform mRNAs, suggesting that both NGFI-B and a RXR isoform are highly coexpressed after haloperidol administration. Our data demonstrate, for the first time, that NGFI-B and retinoids are actively involved in the molecular cascade induced by neuroleptic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-346
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Dopamine D receptors
  • Extrapyramidal symptoms
  • Immediate-early genes
  • Ligand-activated transcription factors
  • NR4AI


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