Dopaminergic modulation of limbic and cortical drive of nucleus accumbens in goal-directed behavior

Nat Neurosci. 2005 Jun;8(6):805-12. doi: 10.1038/nn1471. Epub 2005 May 22.


Goal-directed behavior is believed to involve interactions of prefrontal cortical and limbic inputs in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), and their modulation by mesolimbic dopamine (DA) seems to be of primary importance in NAcc function. Using in vivo electrophysiological recordings simultaneously with DA system manipulation in rats, we show that tonic and phasic DA release selectively modulates hippocampal and prefrontal cortical inputs through D1 and D2 receptors, respectively. In addition, we also found that D1 activation and D2 inactivation in the NAcc produced behaviorally selective effects (learning versus set shifting of response strategy) that correspond to specific afferents. These results suggest that the dynamics of DA release regulate the balance between limbic and cortical drive through activation and inactivation of DA receptor subtypes in the accumbens, and this regulates goal-directed behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Agonists / pharmacology
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Goals
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / drug effects
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / drug effects
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / drug effects
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Dopamine