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J Psychopharmacol. 1997;11(2):143-50.

The nature of interactions involving prefrontal and striatal dopamine systems.

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Babraham Institute, Department of Neurobiology, Cambridge, UK.


A number of converging lines of evidence from work in rodents suggest that dopamine (DA) function in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and striatal terminal fields may be linked, possibly in an 'inverse' manner, whereby a change in prefrontal dopamine transmission in one direction occasions an opposite change in dopamine function in striatal territories. The present article considers the possible functional importance of this concept in the light of recent neuroanatomical data and new data from our own laboratory indicating that, at the neurochemical level, the basic finding of an inverse relationship between dopamine function in prefrontal and striatal regions also holds good in the non-human primate. The main conclusion is that the simple idea of an inverse relationship between prefrontal and striatal dopamine systems emphasizing presynaptic release mechanisms is unlikely to underlie, solely, the full repertoire of functional interactions. Whilst there is evidence consistent with dynamic interactions between prefrontal and striatal dopamine release under some circumstances, specifically, during the early phases of aversive learning, a complete account of possible interactions between prefrontal and striatal dopamine systems requires consideration of additional factors. Such factors include: (1) the precise nature of the psychological function investigated, (2) the possibility of acute, localized changes in striatal postsynaptic function secondary to changes in presynaptic function and (3) the possibility of manipulations of prefrontal cortex leading to adaptive changes in striatal function, at a diffuse, neural systems level.

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