Author(s): Einhorn LC, Johansen PA, White FJ, Einhorn LC, Johansen PA, White FJ
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Extracellular single-cell recording and microiontophoretic techniques were used to characterize the effects of cocaine on the activity of mesoaccumbens A10 dopamine (DA) neurons in the rat ventral tegmental area (VTA), which have been implicated in the rewarding effects of this and other drugs of abuse. Because cocaine inhibits the reuptake of DA, norepinephrine (NE), and serotonin (5-HT), and exerts local anesthetic actions, the possible involvement of each of these various mechanisms in the effects of cocaine on A10 DA neurons was investigated. Intravenous administration of cocaine caused a significant, dose-dependent, partial inhibition (50-70\%) of the firing of antidromically identified mesoaccumbens DA neurons. Similar partial inhibition of A10 neurons was observed following intravenous administration of nomifensine, GBR-12909, and norcocaine, all of which inhibit DA reuptake. Neither the selective 5-HT uptake inhibitor fluoxetine nor the selective NE uptake inhibitor desmethylimipramine (DMI) inhibited the firing of A10 DA neurons. The local anesthetic agent procaine, which lacks DA uptake blocking efficacy, caused a slight, transient increase in firing rate. These results suggest that the effects of cocaine on A10 DA neurons are due to inhibition of DA reuptake, a conclusion that has been supported by several other findings. Pretreatment with reserpine to deplete vesicular stores of DA significantly reduced the ability of intravenous cocaine to suppress A10 DA neuronal activity. Microiontophoretic administration of cocaine caused only a weak (15-20\%) inhibition of the activity of A10 DA neurons, but significantly increased and prolonged the inhibition produced by iontophoretic DA. This effect was not observed with iontophoretically administered procaine iontophoresis of cocaine also significantly potentiated the inhibition of A10 DA activity caused by electrical stimulation of the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Both unilateral ibotenic acid lesions of the NAc and hemitransections of the brain rostral to the VTA significantly reduced the inhibitory effects of intravenous cocaine on A10 DA neurons, suggesting that both somatodendritic impulse-regulating DA autoreceptors and inhibitory NAc-VTA feedback processes are involved in the effects of intravenous cocaine on A10 DA neurons. Therefore, it is hypothesized that the relatively weak inhibitory effects of cocaine on A10 DA neurons may represent a poor compensatory response to enhanced DA neurotransmission within the NAc, and may help to explain the extremely potent rewarding effects of this important drug of abuse.
This article was published in J Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research