Effects of prepulses and d-amphetamine on performance and event-related potential measures an an auditory discrimination task

Kroner, S, Schall, U, Ward, PB, Sticht, G, Banger, MW, Haffner, HT and Catts, SV (1999) Effects of prepulses and d-amphetamine on performance and event-related potential measures an an auditory discrimination task. Psychopharmacology, 145 2: 123-132. doi:10.1007/s002130051040

Author Kroner, S
Schall, U
Ward, PB
Sticht, G
Banger, MW
Haffner, HT
Catts, SV
Title Effects of prepulses and d-amphetamine on performance and event-related potential measures an an auditory discrimination task
Journal name Psychopharmacology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0033-3158
Publication date 1999-07-01
Year available 1999
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s002130051040
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 145
Issue 2
Start page 123
End page 132
Total pages 10
Place of publication NEW YORK
Language eng
Abstract Rationale: Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle reflex is a measure of sensorimotor gating, that is the processing of the startle stimulus (S2) is inhibited by the interfering processing of a closely preceding prepulse (S1). It has been demonstrated that PPI is disrupted in a variety of mental disorders and that several neurotransmitter systems, including dopamine, participate in the modulation of sensorimotor gating. Previous studies have also shown that a task-relevant S1 enhances PPI in healthy subjects but not in schizophrenic patients. These findings indicate an influence of attentional processes on sensorimotor gating and an impairment of this modulation in schizophrenia. Objective: Assuming a dopamine-mediated suppression of S1 processing as a mechanism of resource management and selective attention, which might be impaired in certain mental disorders, the present study investigated the effects of the indirect dopaminergic agonist d-amphetamine on prepulse-altered S2 discrimination and event related potentials (ERPs). Methods: Twelve healthy volunteers were tested in a double-blind, placebo-controlled experimental design. Here, S2 is the target in a difficult Go/NoGo auditory discrimination task. Results: Confirming our previous results, S2 processing is "accentuated" by a weak acoustic prepulse in healthy subjects, thus leading to a lower rate of errors of omission but also to more false alarms (i.e. a liberal response bias). This performance change correlated with a prepulse-induced increase in the amplitude of the P3 ERP towards non-targets ("prepulse-induced non-target positivity"; PINTP). In addition, the results of the present study show that under prepulse conditions amphetamine disrupts "S2 accentuation" associated with a dose-related reduction of the P2 component of the S1 response and a plasma level related reduction of PINTP. Conclusions: These data suggest an involuntary attentional shift towards S1 processing with increasing dopamine-release similar to that observed in patients with schizophrenia or OCD. It is concluded that sensory gating alters selective attention via dopaminergic modulation.
Keyword prepulse inhibition
sensorimotor gating
auditory discrimination task
Go/NoGo procedure
selective attention
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Startle Reflex
Intracerebral Potentials
Prefrontal Lesions
5-Ht Modulation
P300 Component
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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