Rationale: The behavioral effects of cocaine have been linked to brain dopamine systems. Extending the findings to neurochemical studies in the squirrel monkey would enhance our understanding of the behavioral pharmacology of cocaine in nonhuman primates.
Objectives: The present studies characterized the effects of cocaine and the selective dopamine uptake inhibitor GBR 12909 on extracellular dopamine in the caudate nucleus of awake squirrel monkeys through microdialysis experiments.
Methods: Guide cannulae were implanted in the caudate nucleus of four monkeys using a stereotaxic apparatus and coordinates obtained from a standard squirrel monkey brain atlas. Accurate probe placement was confirmed in all subjects with magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: Collectively, the results support the feasibility of a repeated-measures design. Stability of tissue integrity after repeated probe insertion was supported by measurement of consistent basal levels of dopamine and its metabolites across several experiments, observation of potassium-induced dopamine release and absence of significant glial proliferation as assessed by GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein) immunochemistry. Moreover, peak drug effects and time-course of action were similar when multiple probes were positioned in the same anatomical site over several experiments. Cocaine (1.0 mg/kg i.m.) and GBR 12909 (3.0 mg/kg i.m.) elevated extracellular dopamine to approximately 300% of basal levels, but GBR 12909 produced a slower, more sustained elevation than cocaine.
Conclusions: The results validate the use of microdialysis in awake primates using repeated sampling of the same anatomical site and demonstrate orderly changes in extracellular dopamine following administration of dopamine uptake inhibitors.