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Brain Res. 1994 Aug 15;654(1):53-62.

Regional extracellular norepinephrine responses to amphetamine and cocaine and effects of clonidine pretreatment.

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Psychiatry Department (0603), University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla 92093-0603.


Microdialysis in behaving animals was used to characterize the hippocampus (HP) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) norepinephrine (NE) responses to amphetamine (AMPH) and cocaine (COC). NE exhibited regionally similar dose- and time-dependent increases to each drug. However, peak NE concentrations were approximately 2-fold greater at behaviorally similar doses of AMPH compared with COC. To examine the role of noradrenergic impulse flow in the mechanism(s) by which these stimulants enhance extracellular NE, groups of animals were pretreated with the alpha 2 autoreceptor agonist, clonidine (CLON), prior to stimulant administration. CLON (50 micrograms/kg) administration completely blocked the NE response to both 20 and 30 mg/kg COC. By contrast, CLON decreased the NE response to 0.5 mg/kg AMPH by 75%, but became progressively less effective on the response as the dose was increased to 1.75 and 5.0 mg/kg. CLON also had no effect on the caudate dopamine responses to either AMPH or COC, consistent with the presumed specificity of this drug for alpha 2 receptors and suggesting the absence of any significant pharmacokinetic interactions. These results indicate that COC acts an uptake blocker at NE-containing neurons and suggest that AMPH increases extracellular NE through two consequences of its interaction with the neuronal transport carrier: (1) reuptake blockade which predominates at lower doses; and (2) release which becomes more prevalent at higher doses. Behavioral analyses revealed effects of CLON which varied as a function of stimulant and dose.

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