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Brain Res. 1999 Jul 3;833(2):133-41.

Dopamine depletion in the medial prefrontal cortex induces sensitized-like behavioral and neurochemical responses to cocaine.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Louisiana State University Medical Center, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71130-3932, USA.


It has been postulated that behavioral sensitization to cocaine is associated with an attenuation of cocaine-induced dopamine (DA) transmission in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Hence, experiments were designed to examine the effects of chemically-induced cortical DA depletion on the acute behavioral and neurochemical responses to cocaine. One week following two bilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) injections into the mPFC, animals received injections of cocaine (7.5, 15 or 30 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline (1 ml/kg, i.p.) in a randomized fashion with a minimum 3 day intertrial interval. Cocaine produced a dose-dependent increase in motor activity which was significantly enhanced in animals depleted (mean of 76%) of dopamine in the mPFC. Likewise, 6-OHDA lesions of the mPFC produced a significant enhancement of cocaine-induced DA transmission in the nucleus accumbens (NAC) as estimated by in vivo microdialysis. These data indicate a permissive involvement of cortical DA in mediating behavioral and neurochemical responses to cocaine, as well as confirm the ability of the mPFC to influence subcortical structures in response to an acute injection of cocaine. Collectively, the present findings suggest that alterations in cortical DA transmission may be a neural substrate mediating the development of sensitization to cocaine, and thus, may contribute to the addictive properties of cocaine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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