Effects of selective dopaminergic compounds on a delay-discounting task

Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Amy H. Newman, Peter Grundt, Kenner C. Rice, James H. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Impulsivity is widely regarded as a multidimensional trait that encompasses two or more distinct patterns of behavior, and dopaminergic systems are implicated in the expression of impulsive behavior in both humans and animal subjects. Impulsive choice, or the tendency to choose rewards associated with relatively little or no delay, has been extensively studied in humans and animal subjects using delay-discounting tasks. Here, delay-discounting procedures were used to assess the effects of receptor-selective dopaminergic agonists, antagonists, and dopamine transporter ligands on choices of immediate versus delayed sucrose pellets. The effects of d-amphetamine, GBR 12909, apomorphine, SKF 81297, sumanirole, pramipexole, ABT-724, SCH 23390, L-741,626, PG01037, and L-745,870 were assessed in 24 Sprague-Dawley rats. The only drugs to affect impulsive choice selectively without altering undelayed choice were the D1-like antagonist, SCH 23390 (0.01 mg/kg), and the D4 partial agonist, ABT-724 (3.2 mg/kg), which both increased impulsive choice. The shared effects of these compounds may be explained by their localization within the prefrontal cortex on different groups of neurons. None of the selective agonists and antagonists tested reduced impulsive choice, so further research is needed to determine if direct dopaminergic agonists or antagonists may be therapeutically useful in the treatment of impulse-control disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-311
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • ABT-724
  • SCH 23390
  • delay discounting
  • dopamine
  • impulsive choice
  • impulsivity
  • intertemporal choice
  • rat
  • self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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