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Brain Res. 1992 Oct 16;593(2):314-8.

Basal extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens are decreased during cocaine withdrawal after unlimited-access self-administration.

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Department of Neuropharmacology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037.


The effects of withdrawal from cocaine on extracellular dopamine (DA) levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAC) were examined by intracranial microdialysis in awake rats after periods (9.5-21.75 h) of unlimited-access, intravenous cocaine self-administration. Cocaine withdrawal was associated with significant reductions in basal DA overflow that persisted up to 12 h. Maximal inhibition of DA release (mean +/- S.E.M. 66.15 +/- 3.30 percent of basal levels) was observed between 4-6 h after cessation of cocaine intake and was positively correlated (r = 0.88) with the duration of the preceding self-administration episode. The results suggest that suppression of basal DA release in the NAC is an adaptive consequence of sustained cocaine exposure and may in part underlie the post-cocaine anhedonia observed in behavioral models of cocaine withdrawal.

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