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Brain Res. 2005 Feb 28;1035(2):168-76. Epub 2005 Jan 22.

Hemisphere-specific effects on serotonin but not dopamine innervation in the nucleus accumbens of gerbils caused by isolated rearing and a single early methamphetamine challenge.

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  • 1Department of Neuroanatomy, Faculty of Biology, University of Bielefeld, Universit√§tsstr. 25, D-33615 Bielefeld, Germany.


The aim of this study was twofold: We examined whether serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) innervations of the nucleus accumbens are lateralised and whether the environment or the combination with an early pharmacological impact might interfere with the postnatal maturation of the monoaminergic innervation. Male gerbils were assigned to either enriched rearing (ER) or isolated rearing (IR). Animals from both rearing conditions additionally received a single dose of either methamphetamine [MA (50 mg/kg ip)] or saline on postnatal day 14. DA and 5-HT fibres of the adult animals (postnatal day 90-110) were immunocytochemically stained and fibre densities were quantified in nucleus accumbens core and shell of both the left and right hemisphere. Our data demonstrate that the DA and 5-HT innervation is not lateralised in saline-treated animals of both rearing conditions. IR increases the DA fibre density in both hemispheres of saline controls, whereas an additional MA treatment reverses this effect. In both ER and IR groups, MA provokes an excessive 5-HT fibre in growth of only the right hemisphere. The combination of IR with MA induces right-side asymmetries of the 5-HT fibre density in both the core and shell. From the data obtained, we conclude that the maturation of the monoaminergic innervation of the nucleus accumbens is vulnerable to postnatal stimuli. The subtle "innervation imbalance" observed in our studies is consistent with previously reported effects in other brain regions of this animal model and may be causative for behavioural disturbances.

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