Voltammetric recordings with electrochemically modified carbon-fiber electrodes were obtained from specific regions of the forebrain in rats given free-choice access to a novel environment. Entry into novelty increased the catechol signal in the medial prefrontal cortex and shell of the nucleus accumbens by more than 100%, but had no consistent effect in either the neostriatum or accumbal core. In both the medial prefrontal cortex and accumbal shell, moreover, the novelty-induced increase in catecholaminergic activity was detectable only during the initial entry into the novel compartment and did not reappear when animals returned to the familiar environment. These results support increasing evidence for a functional distinction between the accumbal core and shell, with the latter having been linked to brain reward mechanisms. The results also indicate that novelty activates, albeit very transiently, some of the same neurochemical systems believed to play a critical role in the reinforcing effects of certain drugs of abuse.
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - Dec 11 1996|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. We also thank R. M. Wightman and P. A. Garris for comments and discussion, P. E. Langley for technical assistance, and F. Caylor for manuscript preparation.
- drug reward
- in vivo voltammetry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)