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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1992 Jun 28;654:242-53.

Alcohol self-administration: role of mesolimbic dopamine.

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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (NL-15), University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


It appears clear that ethanol reinforcement, like that of many abused drugs, utilizes the mesolimbic DA pathways. From the data presented on microinjection of DA agonists and antagonists, it would seem that only part of the regulatory process controlling ethanol drinking is directly involved with this pathway. Once drinking has begun, the DA antagonist raclopride results in a rapid termination of drinking. This appears to be a blocking effect of what may be conditioned reinforcement resulting from prior ethanol reinforcement initiation procedures. Microinjection of the DA agonists d-amphetamine and quinpirole prolonged drinking, with little signs of normal termination apparent in the 30-min session in many animals. This appeared to be the result of interference with normal termination processes. While it remains to be demonstrated that oral ethanol consumption results in the release of DA in the nucleus accumbens, evidence from prior work and the present studies support a role for the mesolimbic DA system in ethanol reinforcement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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