Persistence of neurochemical changes in dopamine systems after repeated cocaine administration

J. Peris, S. J. Boyson, W. A. Cass, P. Curella, L. P. Dwoskin, G. Larson, L. H. Lin, R. P. Yasuda, N. R. Zahniser

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209 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to test whether persistent changes consistent with behavioral sensitization occur in dopamine (DA) uptake, release or receptors following repeated cocaine administration. Our neurochemical experiments focused primarily on the striatum; however, quantitative autoradiography was used to measure D-1 and D-2 DA receptors in both cell body and terminal regions the nigrostriatal and mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways. After receiving eight once-daily injections of cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.), rats remained behaviorally sensitized for 1 week. This repeated treatment with cocaine induced two changes consistent with increased dopaminergic transmission. Postsynaptic D-2 DA receptors were selectively increased in nucleus accumbens one day after termination of the repeated cocaine administration; however, these receptors returned to control levels one week after cocaine administration had been terminated. In contrast, amphetamine-stimulated [3H]DA release from striatal slices was increased in rats receiving repeated cocaine injections, but this increase was not apparent until 1 week after the drug administration had been terminated. While neither of these two changes is sufficient to explain cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization, both are consistent with increased dopaminergic responsiveness and may contribute to sensitization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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