Extracellular dopamine levels were determined by microdialysis in the core and shell of the nucleus accumbens and the frontal cortex of rats before and after an injection of cocaine (20 mg/kg, IP). After removal of the probes, these same animals were then tested for their voluntary intake of cocaine using the two-bottle, free-choice paradigm. Baseline dopamine levels and their responses to an injection of cocaine differed among the three brain areas. No significant correlations were found between baseline dopamine levels in any of the three brain regions and the voluntary cocaine consumption. A significant negative correlation was found between cocaine-induced increases in extracellular dopamine in the shell of the nucleus accumbens and the voluntary intake of cocaine (r = -0.73, p < 0.01). No such correlations were observed in the accumbens core region or the frontal cortex. These results provide further evidence of the role of the accumbal shell region in cocaine preference, and indicate that cocaine-induced increases in dopamine levels play a role in oral cocaine self-administration or preference. In addition, this relatively novel approach in using the same animals for both cocaine induced neurotransmitter responses and cocaine preference studies can also be applied for the study of other neurotransmitters and drugs of abuse. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biological Psychiatry
- Behavioral Neuroscience