Brain dopamine is necessary for normal movement. To determine whether there is a precise relation between the intensity of movement and changes in brain dopamine metabolism, the investigators ran rats on straight and circular treadmills at different speeds and with different body postures. Concentrations of dopamine and its metabolite 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid increased in the caudate and accumbens nuclei in direct relation to the speed and angular posture of the animals. Dopamine metabolism in the nucleus accumbens was more strongly linked to the speed and direction of movement, while in the caudate nucleus dopamine and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid were affected most by posture and direction.
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