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J Neurosci. 1996 May 15;16(10):3507-10.

The vesicular monoamine transporter, in contrast to the dopamine transporter, is not altered by chronic cocaine self-administration in the rat.

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  • 1Human Neurochemical Pathology Laboratory, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Although much evidence suggests that the brain dopamine transporter (DAT) is susceptible to dopaminergic regulation, only limited information is available for the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2). In the present investigation, we used a chronic, unlimited-access, cocaine self-administration paradigm to determine whether brain levels of VMAT2, as estimated using [3H]dihydrotetrabenazine (DTBZ) binding, are altered by chronic exposure to a dopamine uptake blocker. Previously, we showed that striatal and nucleus accumbens DAT levels, as estimated by [3H]WIN 35,428 and [3H]GBR 12,935 binding, are altered markedly using this animal model (Wilson et al., 1994). However, in sequential sections from the same animals, [3H]DTBZ binding was normal throughout the entire rostrocaudal extent of the basal ganglia (including striatum and nucleus accumbens), cerebral cortex, and diencephalon, as well as in midbrain and brainstem monoamine cell body regions, both on the last day of cocaine access and after 3 weeks of drug withdrawal. These data provide additional evidence that VMAT2, unlike DAT, is resistant to dopaminergic regulation.

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