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Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2013 Jun 1;5:982-99.

Advances in studying phasic dopamine signaling in brain reward mechanisms.

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Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The last sixty years of research has provided extraordinary advances of our knowledge of the reward system. Since its discovery as a neurotransmitter by Carlsson and colleagues (1), dopamine (DA) has emerged as an important mediator of reward processing. As a result, a number of electrochemical techniques have been developed to measure DA in the brain. Together, these techniques have begun to elucidate the complex roles of tonic and phasic DA signaling in reward processing and addiction. In this review, we will first provide a guide for the most commonly used electrochemical methods for DA detection and describe their utility in furthering our knowledge about DA's role in reward and addiction. Second, we will review the value of common in vitro and in vivo preparations and describe their ability to address different types of questions. Last, we will review recent data that has provided new mechanistic insight of in vivo phasic DA signaling and its role in reward processing and reward-mediated behavior.

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