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J Neurophysiol. 1985 Dec;54(6):1568-77.

Dopamine action in the nucleus accumbens.


The action of dopamine was studied in the nucleus accumbens of acutely prepared rabbits. Dopamine was applied iontophoretically to those cells and cell populations that responded in a monosynaptic excitatory manner to ipsilateral fimbrial stimulation. This strategy was adopted to isolate the effects of dopamine on postsynaptic receptors thus avoiding the bias resulting from activation of presynaptic dopamine receptors on dopaminergic afferents. Dopamine was found to have a suppressive effect on the excitatory (N) component of the field response and on driven extracellular unitary discharges. The specificity of dopamine's effect with receptors was indicated by the facts that fluphenazine effectively antagonized dopamine's effect, whereas bicuculline did not. The effect of dopamine was dependent on the rate of fimbrial stimulation. Dopamine has a marked suppressive effect on the fimbria-induced response at 0.5 Hz of stimulation but not at 6.0 Hz. This frequency specificity could not be linked directly to a cyclic adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cyclic AMP) mechanism because the iontophoresis cyclic AMP and dibutyryl cyclic AMP had suppressive effects at both 0.5 and 6.0 Hz rates of stimulation. It is suggested that dopamine acts in the nucleus accumbens to increase the "signal-to-noise" ratio. This might be a form of "contrast enhancement" of an incoming hippocampal message.

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