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Brain Res. 1984 Dec 17;324(1):69-84.

Electrophysiological responses of neurones in the nucleus accumbens to hippocampal stimulation and the attenuation of the excitatory responses by the mesolimbic dopaminergic system.


Extracellular single unit recordings were obtained from neurones in the nucleus accumbens of urethane anaesthetized rats. Single pulse stimulation (300-800 microA, 0.15 ms, 0.5-1.5 Hz) of the ventral subiculum of the hippocampus strongly excited silent and spontaneously active (3-6 spikes/s) medial accumbens neurones. The majority of neurones excited by hippocampal stimulation were quiescent and identified only by the elicited action potentials. Neurones on the dorso-medial border of the nucleus accumbens and adjacent lateral septum, with a faster spontaneous discharge rate (8-12 spikes/s), were inhibited by hippocampal stimulation. In the ventral border of the accumbens and the olfactory tubercle, hippocampal stimulation also inhibited the fast-firing (greater than 20 spikes/s) neurones. When trains of 10 conditioning pulses (300-800 microA, 0.15 ms, 10 Hz) were delivered to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) 100 ms before each single-pulse stimulation of the hippocampus, the excitatory responses of the silent and spontaneously active accumbens neurones were attenuated. The possibility of this relatively prolonged attenuation effect being dopamine-mediated was supported by several lines of evidence. Dopamine, applied iontophoretically, reduced markedly the excitatory response of accumbens neurones to hippocampal stimulation. Iontophoretically applied dopamine mimicked the attenuating effect produced by VTA conditioning stimulation in the same neurone. The attenuating effects of VTA conditioning stimulation on the activation of accumbens neurones by hippocampal stimulation was reduced by: (1) administration of 6-hydroxydopamine to the VTA 2 days and 7-9 days prior to the recording session, (2) the intraperitoneal injection of haloperidol 1 h before the recording session, and (3) the iontophoretic application of trifluoperazine to accumbens neurones. These observations support the hypothesis that the attenuating effects of the mesolimbic dopamine system on limbic inputs to the nucleus accumbens may have a role in limbic-motor integration.

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