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Neuroscience. 1998 Jan;82(2):521-8.

Parallel strain-dependent effect of amphetamine on locomotor activity and dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens: an in vivo study in mice.

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Dip. Psicologia, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Vulnerability to develop drug abuse could be related to differential sensitivity to some central effects of such drugs. Several results point to mesoaccumbens dopamine release elicited by psychostimulants as the rate-limiting factor of their reinforcing, hence addictive, effects and to locomotor stimulation as an indirect index of such a response. In this paper, we report parallel differences in sensitivity to amphetamine-induced locomotor stimulation and mesoaccumbens dopamine release in two inbred strains of mice characterized by differential susceptibility to develop drug self-administration. Thus, mice of the C57BL/6 strain responded with a simultaneous increase of locomotor activity and mesoaccumbens dopamine release measured by intracerebral microdialysis to amphetamine challenge. On the contrary, mice of the DBA/2 strain did not present either response. No strain differences in mesoaccumbens dopamine outflow or 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid concentration were found in basal conditions or following saline challenges. However, mice of the C57BL/6 strain were characterized by higher levels of accumbal homovanillic acid in basal conditions, in line with the results obtained in rats rendered more sensitive to the locomotor effects of psychostimulants by repeated administration. Finally, in both strains amphetamine decreased accumbal levels of the two metabolites. These results suggest that genotype modulates the locomotor effects of amphetamine through sensitivity of the mesoaccumbens system to amphetamine-stimulated dopamine release. Moreover, they provide a basis to test the hypothesis of mesoaccumbens dopamine involvement in individual susceptibility to the addictive effects of drugs by quantitative trait loci analysis in recombinant inbred strains.

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