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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Sep;87(17):6912-6.

Amphetamine and cocaine induce drug-specific activation of the c-fos gene in striosome-matrix compartments and limbic subdivisions of the striatum.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


Amphetamine and cocaine are stimulant drugs that act on central monoaminergic neurons to produce both acute psychomotor activation and long-lasting behavioral effects including addiction and psychosis. Here we report that single doses of these drugs induce rapid expression of the nuclear proto-oncogene c-fos in the forebrain and particularly in the striatum, an extrapyramidal structure implicated in addiction and in long-term drug-induced changes in motor function. The two drugs induce strikingly different patterns of c-fos expression in the striosome-matrix compartments and limbic subdivisions of the striatum, and their effects are pharmacologically distinct, although both are sensitive to dopamine receptor blockade. We propose that differential activation of immediate-early genes by psychostimulants may be an early step in drug-specific molecular cascades contributing to acute and long-lasting psychostimulant-induced changes in behavior.

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