Haloperidol Interactions with the dop-3 Receptor in Caenorhabditis elegans

Bárbara Nunes Krum, Airton C. Martins, Libânia Queirós, Beatriz Ferrer, Ginger L. Milne, Félix Alexandre Antunes Soares, Roselei Fachinetto, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Haloperidol is a typical antipsychotic drug commonly used to treat a broad range of psychiatric disorders related to dysregulations in the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA). DA modulates important physiologic functions and perturbations in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and, its signaling have been associated with alterations in behavioral, molecular, and morphologic properties in C. elegans. Here, we evaluated the possible involvement of dopaminergic receptors in the onset of these alterations followed by haloperidol exposure. Haloperidol increased lifespan and decreased locomotor behavior (basal slowing response, BSR, and locomotion speed via forward speed) of the worms. Moreover, locomotion speed recovered to basal conditions upon haloperidol withdrawal. Haloperidol also decreased DA levels, but it did not alter neither dop-1, dop-2, and dop-3 gene expression, nor CEP dopaminergic neurons’ morphology. These effects are likely due to haloperidol’s antagonism of the D2-type DA receptor, dop-3. Furthermore, this antagonism appears to affect mechanistic pathways involved in the modulation and signaling of neurotransmitters such as octopamine, acetylcholine, and GABA, which may underlie at least in part haloperidol’s effects. These pathways are conserved in vertebrates and have been implicated in a range of disorders. Our novel findings demonstrate that the dop-3 receptor plays an important role in the effects of haloperidol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-316
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Basal slowing response
  • Dopamine signaling
  • Lifespan
  • Locomotor behavior
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Worm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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