Effect of noxious tail pinch on the discharge rate of mesocortical and mesolimbic dopamine neurons: selective activation of the mesocortical system

Brain Res. 1989 Jan 9;476(2):377-81. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(89)91263-8.


The effects of noxious tail pinch on the activity of mesocortical and mesolimbic dopamine (DA) neurons located in the ventromedial mesencephalic tegmentum were analyzed in ketamine-anesthetized rats. The great majority of mesocortical DA neurons responded to tail pinch, either by an excitation (65%), or by an inhibition (25%). In contrast, most DA neurons projecting either to the nucleus accumbens or the septum remained unaffected. These results demonstrate that noxious tail pinch selectively influences the firing rate of mesocortical DA neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Limbic System / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Neural Conduction
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Tegmentum Mesencephali / physiopathology*


  • Dopamine