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Brain Res. 2005 Sep 7;1055(1-2):143-8.

Effect of 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy") on dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens shell and core.

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  • 1CNR Istitute of Neuroscience, Section of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy. ccadoni@unica.it


It is known that most of drugs abused by humans preferentially stimulate dopamine transmission in the shell subdivision of the nucleus accumbens as compared to the core. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether this applies also to intravenous 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy") administered at doses that sustain self-administration behavior in rats. The effect of 0.32, 0.64, 1.0, 2.0 and 3.2 mg/kg i.v. of MDMA on dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens shell and core was studied in freely moving rats by means of dual probe microdialysis. MDMA dose-dependently stimulated dopamine transmission both in the shell and in the core but the increase in the shell was more pronounced compared to the core at doses of 0.64, 1.0 and 2.0 mg/kg. The increase of dialysate dopamine obtained after 0.32 mg/kg and after 3.2 mg/kg was not significantly different in the shell compared to the core of nucleus accumbens. This study extends to MDMA the property of other drugs of abuse to increase preferentially nucleus accumbens shell dopamine.

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