Psychological stress selectively increases extracellular dopamine in the 'shell', but not in the 'core' of the rat nucleus accumbens: a novel dual-needle probe simultaneous microdialysis study

Neurosci Lett. 1999 Nov 5;275(1):69-72. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(99)00747-8.


In order to compare psychological stress-induced dopamine (DA) release in two subterritories (e.g. shell and core) of the nucleus accumbens of the same animal, a novel dual-needle microdialysis probe has been developed. The two needles were placed in the ipsilateral shell and core subterritories of the nucleus accumbens under pentobarbital anesthesia and 24 h later the microdialysis was started. Basal DA output was not significantly different between the shell and the core. Psychological stress for 20 min significantly increased extracellular DA levels in the shell of the nucleus accumbens, however, the levels of dopamine remained almost unaltered in the core. This finding suggests that DA transmission in the shell of the nucleus accumbens was selectively activated during psychological stress, and that the shell plays an important role in emotional responses. The results further show that microdialysis using the novel dual-needle probe could be very useful to differentiate neurochemical changes occurring in neighboring areas in the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microdialysis / methods
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism*


  • Dopamine