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Neurochem Int. 2000 Oct;37(4):369-76.

Alcohol enhances characteristic releases of dopamine and serotonin in the central nucleus of the amygdala.

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Department of Legal Medicine, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine,Kamigyo-ku, Japan.


The amygdaloid complex (AMY) is implicated in emotional and motivational aspects of behavior, including the formation of positive reinforcement association. AMY may also associated with brain rewarding circuitry. In the present study, the effect of ethanol (EtOH) on the release of dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) was studied in the central amygdaloid nucleus (CeAMY), and projecting excitatory afferents to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), of freely moving Wistar rats by brain microdialysis. Within 20 min of i.p. injection of EtOH (2 g/kg), the levels of DA and 5-HT in the CeAMY dialysate increased over the baseline value by 270 and 160% (N = 6-7), respectively. Addition of EtOH (25, 50 and 100 mM) to the microdialysis perfusion medium for 1 h caused a 115-150% dose-related increase in the extracellular level of DA in the CeAMY. 100 mM EtOH-induced CeAMY DA release continued to increase for 1 h after the perfusion medium was returned to normal perfusion medium. In contrast, the CeAMY 5-HT level was increased only by the addition of 100 mM EtOH for 1 h to 130% for 80 min. The stimulation of the CeAMY by EtOH through the microdialysis membrane showed delayed responses of DA and 5-HT compared with the i.p. injection of EtOH. Overall, the present findings are not sufficient to conclude whether EtOH acts directly or indirectly on the major monoamine nerve cells in the CeAMY, but the degree of acute EtOH action affected the differences in time at the peak response on EtOH-induced DA and 5-HT releases in the CeAMY via VTA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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