Selective 6OHDA-induced destruction of mesolimbic dopamine neurons: abolition of psychostimulant-induced locomotor activity in rats

Eur J Pharmacol. 1976 Nov;40(1):45-56. doi: 10.1016/0014-2999(76)90352-6.


Selective large scale destruction of mesolimbic dopamine-containing terminals is produced by bilateral injection of 8 mug of 6-hydroxydopamine (6OHDA) into the nucleus accumbens septi (NAS) of rats pretreated with pargyline and desipramine (DMI). The DMI prevents the destruction of the noradrenergic innervation of the forebrain normally produced by the NAS 6OHDA lesion, without affecting the destruction of dopamine-containing neurons. The locomotor stimulation produced by the psychostimulants d-amphetamine (1.5 mg/kg) and cocaine (20 mg/kg) is blocked in rats with selective destruction of the mesolimbic dopamine system. In contrast the locomotor stimulation produced by the directly acting dopamine agonist apomorphine (1.0 mg/kg) is enhanced, which may indicate supersensitivity of the denervated dopamine receptors. These results lend further support to the view that psychostimulant-induced locomotr stimulation in rats results from effects on mesolimbic dopamine neurons. In addition, the protection by DMI of noradrenergic neurons from the toxic effects of 6OHDA is evidence that 6OHDA, as used here, destroys catecholamine neurons mainly by an uptake-dependent specific mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Desipramine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hydroxydopamines / pharmacology*
  • Limbic System / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Pargyline / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects*
  • Stereotyped Behavior / drug effects
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Hydroxydopamines
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Pargyline
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Apomorphine
  • Desipramine