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J Neurochem. 2014 Nov;131(3):348-55. doi: 10.1111/jnc.12808. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Amphetamine potency varies with dopamine uptake rate across striatal subregions.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.


Amphetamine is a central nervous system psychostimulant with a high potential for abuse. Recent literature has shown that genetic and drug-induced elevations in dopamine transporter (DAT) expression augment the neurochemical and behavioral potency of psychostimulant releasers. However, it remains to be determined if the well-documented differences in DAT levels across striatal regions drive regionally distinct amphetamine effects within individuals. DAT levels and dopamine uptake rates have been shown to follow a gradient in the striatum, with the highest levels in the dorsal regions and lowest levels in the nucleus accumbens shell; thus, we hypothesized that amphetamine potency would follow this gradient. Using fast scan cyclic voltammetry in mouse brain slices, we examined DAT inhibition and changes in exocytotic dopamine release by amphetamine across four striatal regions (dorsal and ventral caudate-putamen, nucleus accumbens core and shell). Consistent with our hypothesis, amphetamine effects at the DAT and on release decreased across regions from dorsal to ventral, and both measures of potency were highly correlated with dopamine uptake rates. Separate striatal subregions are involved in different aspects of motivated behaviors, such as goal-directed and habitual behaviors, that become dysregulated by drug abuse, making it critically important to understand regional differences in drug potencies.


caudate; dopamine transporter; mouse; nucleus accumbens; releaser; voltammetry

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