A motivational deficit (the loss of pleasure or interest in previously rewarding stimuli) is one of the core symptoms of major depression, and valid models evaluating the motivational effects of drugs are needed. It was recently demonstrated that the priming stimulation effect in the runway model of intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) can be used as a model system to study the motivational effects of drugs. However, the characteristics of this novel experimental model have not been fully clarified. In this study, we investigated the effects of nomifensine and imipramine in the runway ICSS model, forced swim tests, and locomotor activity tests to differentiate motivation from affective-like states. Nomifensine dose-dependently increased running speed on the runway and decreased immobility time in the forced swim test. In contrast, imipramine decreased running speed on the runway although it also decreased immobility time in the forced swim test. In addition, the motivation-enhancing effect of nomifensine in the runway model was completely inhibited by pretreatment with the dopamine receptor antagonist haloperidol, although nomifensine-induced increases in locomotion were not affected by haloperidol. These results demonstrate that nomifensine displays motivation-enhancing and antidepressant-like effects. In addition, the motivational effects of nomifensine in the runway ICSS model are primarily mediated by dopamine receptors and enhancements of motivated behavior do not simply reflect hyperlocomotion.
- Forced swimming test
- Intracranial self-stimulation
- Locomotor activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas