Increased dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens of copulating male rats as evidenced by in vivo voltammetry

Neurosci Lett. 1990 Mar 14;110(3):303-8. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(90)90864-6.


This report describes the changes in extracellular levels of dopamine (DA) and dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) detected in the nucleus accumbens of male rats engaged in copulatory activity. They were monitored by using differential normal pulse voltammetry (DNPV) with electrochemically pretreated carbon fiber microelectrodes and numerical analysis of the catechol signal. The copulatory pattern displayed during the voltammetric recordings was similar to those recorded prior to surgery. Copulating animals showed a conspicuous increase in the DA and DOPAC electrochemical signals up to, respectively, 170% and 150% of baseline levels. This response was much attenuated when the experimental animals were exposed to either non-receptive castrated females or intact males. These data are consistent with the permissive role currently ascribed to the dopaminergic innervation of the n. accumbens in the selection and the initiation of behavioral adaptive sequences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Copulation / physiology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Electrochemistry
  • Male
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Septal Nuclei / metabolism*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*


  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Dopamine