Rationale: We have previously shown that environmental novelty enhances the behavioral activating effects of amphetamine and amphetamine-induced expression of the immediate early gene c-fos in the striatal complex, particularly in the most caudal portion of the caudate. In contrast, we found no effect of novelty on the ability of amphetamine to induce dopamine (DA) overflow in the rostral caudate or in the core of the nucleus accumbens.
Objectives: The twofold aim of the present study was to determine the effect of environmental novelty on (1) amphetamine-induced DA overflow in the shell of the nucleus accumbens and in the caudal portions of the caudate, and (2) glutamate and aspartate overflow in the caudal portions of the caudate.
Methods: Two groups of rats with a unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesion of the mesostriatal dopaminergic system received amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg, i.v.) in physically identical cages. For one group, the cages were also the home environment, whereas, for the other group, they were a completely novel environment. In vivo microdialysis was used to estimate DA, glutamate, and aspartate concentrations.
Results: Environmental novelty enhanced amphetamine-induced rotational behavior (experiments 1-3) but did not alter amphetamine-induced DA overflow in either the shell of the nucleus accumbens (experiment 1) or the caudate (experiment 2). In addition, the ability of environmental novelty to enhance amphetamine-induced behavioral activation was not associated with changes in glutamate or aspartate efflux in the caudate (experiment 3).
Conclusions: The present data indicate that the psychomotor activating effects of amphetamine can be modulated by environmental context independent of its primary neuropharmacological actions in the striatal complex.