Regional and temporal differences in real-time dopamine efflux in the nucleus accumbens during free-choice novelty

George V. Rebec, John R.C. Christensen, Cristiano Guerra, Michael T. Bardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus citations


To assess dopamine efflux during novelty-seeking behavior in rats, fast- scan cyclic voltammetry in the nucleus accumbens was combined with free- choice entry into a novel environment. Cyclic voltammograms, confirmed by in vitro testing, revealed that entry into novel, but not familiar, surroundings increased dopamine efflux in a regionally and temporally distinct pattern. Whereas dopamine failed to change in the core region of the accumbens and overlying neostriatum, an abrupt increase occurred in accumbal shell, a limbic-related area implicated in goal-directed behavior. Although the dopamine response was confined to the brief period of entry into novelty (λ 8 s duration), a less rapid and more persistent dopamine change (> 20 s duration) occurred in the shell-core transition zone, the so-called shore. These results suggest that novelty mimics other positively reinforcing stimuli in enhancing dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens, but the regional and temporal heterogeneity of this effect may represent different aspects of accumbal dopamine function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 21 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by U.S. Public Health Service grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA 05312 and DA 02451). We also thank P.E. Langley for technical assistance, and F. Caylor for manuscript preparation. Drs. P.A. Garris and R.M. Wightman provided ongoing advice and commentary.


  • Core
  • Dopamine efflux
  • Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry
  • Free-choice novelty
  • Nucleu's accumbens
  • Shell
  • Shore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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