Numerous reports have demonstrated augmented cocaine-evoked release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens of rats pre-treated with cocaine. However, the extent to which repeated cocaine injections affect basal levels of dopamine is unclear. There have been reports of increases, decreases, or no change in basal levels of extracellular accumbal dopamine resulting from repeated psychostimulant administration. The present study assessed the activity of tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme in dopamine synthesis, in the nucleus accumbens following either acute or repeated cocaine administration. The in vivo microdialysis technique was used to measure accumulation of the dopamine precursor DOPA following intra-accumbal administration of the DOPA decarboxylase inhibitor NSD 1015 through the microdialysis probe. This method provides an estimate of tyrosine hydroxylase activity within the nucleus accumbens. Results indicate that neither acute nor repeated cocaine administration produced any change in DOPA accumulation in either the nucleus accumbens shell or core. These data indicate that dopamine synthesis is not altered by cocaine administration.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.