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Brain Res. 1997 Apr 18;754(1-2):103-12.

6-Hydroxydopamine lesion of ventral pallidum blocks acquisition of place preference conditioning to cocaine.

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Department of Chemistry, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


In parallel with nucleus accumbens (NAS), ventral pallidum (VP) also receives a dopaminergic projection from the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The present study examined the involvement of this mesopallidal dopaminergic system in the action of cocaine. In the first experiment, the effect of cocaine injections on VP dopamine was examined by microdialysis. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of cocaine 5-20 mg/kg dose-dependently increased the extracellular dopamine level in VP 2.5-4.5-fold. In addition, intra-VP perfusion of 20 microM cocaine induced a 12-fold increase of dopamine locally. The second experiment examined the role of VP dopamine in cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) and locomotor activation. Rats received bilateral intra-VP injections of 3-4 microg 6-OHDA or ascorbic acid vehicle in 0.5 microl volume. Tissue assays indicated that the 6-OHDA-lesioned rats had significantly lowered dopamine concentration in VP, but not in NAS or striatum. As a group, 6-OHDA lesions blocked the development of CPP to 5 mg/kg cocaine but not to 10 mg/kg cocaine. However, rats with more than 60% depletion in VP dopamine did not develop CPP to cocaine at either dose. Preference for the cocaine-paired side correlated significantly with dopamine concentration in VP, but not in NAS or striatum. It was concluded that VP dopamine may play a critical role in the initial rewarding effect of cocaine. 6-OHDA lesions also blocked locomotor activation induced by 5 mg/kg cocaine but had no effect on 10 mg/kg cocaine-induced locomotion. Dopamine concentration in VP did not correlate with the locomotor activation response to cocaine at either dose. These findings further establish the involvement of the mesopallidal dopaminergic system in the action of cocaine.

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