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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2004 Jan;286(1):R31-7. Epub 2003 Aug 21.

Oral sucrose stimulation increases accumbens dopamine in the rat.

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Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences H181, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.


Although taste can influence meal size and body weight, the neural substrate for these effects remains obscure. Dopamine, particularly in the nucleus accumbens, has been implicated in both natural and nonnatural rewards. To isolate the orosensory effects of taste from possible postingestive consequences, we investigated the quantitative relationship between sham feeding of sucrose and extracellular dopamine in the nucleus accumbens with microdialysis in rats. Sucrose intake linearly increased as a function of concentration (0.03 M, 18.07 +/- 2.41 ml; 0.1 M, 30.92 +/- 2.60 ml; 0.3 M, 43.28 +/- 2.88 ml). Sham feeding also stimulated accumbens dopamine overflow as a function of sucrose solution concentration (0.03 M, 120.76 +/- 2.6%; 0.1 M, 140.28 +/- 7.8%; 0.3 M, 146.27 +/- 5.05%). A second experiment used the same protocol but clamped the amount of sucrose ingested and revealed a similar, concentration-dependent dopamine activation in the nucleus accumbens. This is the first demonstration of a quantitative relationship between the concentration-dependent rewarding effect of orosensory stimulation by sucrose during eating and the overflow of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. This finding provides new and strong support for accumbens dopamine in the rewarding effect of sucrose.

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