Influence of glucocorticoids on dopaminergic transmission in the rat dorsolateral striatum

Eur J Neurosci. 2001 Feb;13(4):812-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.2001.01434.x.


Glucocorticoid hormones exert strong influences on central neurotransmitter systems. In the present work, we examined the functional consequences of corticosterone suppression on the dopaminergic transmission in the dorsolateral striatum by studying the expression of Fos-like proteins and extracellular dopamine levels. Glucocorticoid hormones were suppressed by adrenalectomy, and the specificity of the effects assessed by restoring physiological plasmatic corticosterone concentrations. We show that, in the dorsolateral striatum, glucocorticoids modify postsynaptic dopaminergic transmission. Suppression of glucocorticoids decreased the induction of Fos proteins in response to a direct agonist of dopamine D(1) receptors (SKF 82958, 1.5 mg/kg, i.p.), but not the release of dopamine induced by morphine (2 mg/kg, s.c.) or the density of the limiting enzyme of dopamine synthesis, tyrosine hydroxylase. In contrast to the dopaminergic response to morphine, the response to cocaine (15 mg/kg, i.p.) was modified by the suppression of corticosterone. In this case, adrenalectomy increased cocaine-induced changes in extracellular dopamine but did not modify the expression of Fos-like proteins. This absence of changes in cocaine-induced Fos-like proteins might result from a compensatory mechanism between the increase in the dopaminergic response and the decrease in the functional activity of dopamine D(1) receptors. The increased dopaminergic response to cocaine also contrasts with the decreased response previously observed in the shell of the nucleus accumbens [Barrot et al. (2000) Eur. J. Neurosci., 12, 973-979]. The present data highlight the profound heterogeneous influence of glucocorticoids within dopaminergic projections.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy
  • Animals
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Corpus Striatum / ultrastructure
  • Corticosterone / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine / analysis
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Extracellular Space / chemistry
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Genes, fos / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Microdialysis
  • Morphine / pharmacology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / agonists*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / physiology
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / analysis


  • Benzazepines
  • Biomarkers
  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Morphine
  • SK&F 82958
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine
  • Corticosterone