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Brain Res Bull. 1995;37(1):37-40.

Light microscopic immunocytochemical evidence of converging serotonin and dopamine terminals in ventrolateral nucleus accumbens.

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Division of Life Sciences, University of Texas at San Antonio 78249-0662, USA.


The mesencephalic tegmentum contains monoaminergic neurons that project to the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). These monoaminergic neurons consist of the serotonergic (5-HT) neurons of the dorsal and median raphe and the dopaminergic (DA) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Recent neurochemical reports describe cocaine-induced alterations in dopamine and serotonin release in NAcc that has coincidental occurrence both spatially and temporally, as shown by in vivo voltammetry. There is a functional role for 5-HT-DA interactions within the NAcc in the underlying mechanism of action of cocaine as well as for 5-HT in A10 DA neurons in the basal or endogenous state whether or not cocaine-relevant reward circuits are involved. Our objective was to study the neuroanatomic localization of tyrosine hydroxylase-containing (TH) and 5-HT-containing axons in the ventrolateral region of the rat NAcc, where codetection of monoamines had been assessed. The significance of this vINAcc is its reciprocal connectivity with VTA, which contains the somatodendritic portions of the mesoacumbens DA neurons. The results showed that, in the vINAcc, the core contained a dense terminal field of TH axons that had an extensive overlap with 5-HT axons in the periphery within the core. Because the in vivo electrochemical codetection of DA and 5-HT assessed in the ventral-most aspect of this overlap zone can be correlated with terminal release, a functional interaction of 5-HT and DA at postsynaptic sites in vINAcc is possible.

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