The medial preoptic area modulates cocaine-induced locomotion in male rats

Behav Brain Res. 2016 May 15;305:218-22. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.03.002. Epub 2016 Mar 4.


Cocaine-induced locomotion is mediated by dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Recent evidence indicates that the medial preoptic area (mPOA), a region in the rostral hypothalamus, modulates cocaine-induced dopamine in the NAc. Specifically, rats with lesions of the mPOA experienced a greater increase in dopamine following cocaine administration than rats with sham lesions. Whether the mPOA similarly influences cocaine-induced locomotion is not known. Here we examined whether radiofrequency or neurotoxic lesions of the mPOA in male rats influence changes in locomotion that follow cocaine administration. Locomotion was measured following cocaine administration in male rats with neurotoxic, radiofrequency, or sham lesions of the mPOA. Results indicate that bilateral lesions of the mPOA facilitated cocaine-induced locomotion. This facilitation was independent of lesion type, as increased locomotion was observed with either approach. These findings support a role for the mPOA as an integral region in the processing of cocaine-induced behavioral response, in this case locomotor activity.

Keywords: Cocaine; Dopamine; Lesions; Locomotion; Medial preoptic area; Nucleus accumbens.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catheter Ablation / adverse effects
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / toxicity
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Locomotion / drug effects*
  • Male
  • N-Methylaspartate / toxicity
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Preoptic Area / drug effects*
  • Preoptic Area / injuries
  • Preoptic Area / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase
  • Cocaine