Application of fast-scan cyclic voltammetry for the in vivo characterization of optically evoked dopamine in the olfactory tubercle of the rat brain

Analyst. 2016 Jun 21;141(12):3746-55. doi: 10.1039/c6an00196c. Epub 2016 Apr 11.


The olfactory tubercle (OT), as a component of the ventral striatum, serves as an important multisensory integration center for reward-related processes in the brain. Recent studies show that dense dopaminergic innervation from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) into the OT may play an outsized role in disorders such as psychostimulant addiction and disorders of motivation, increasing recent scientific interest in this brain region. However, due to its anatomical inaccessibility, relative small size, and proximity to other dopamine-rich structures, neurochemical assessments using conventional methods cannot be readily employed. Here, we investigated dopamine (DA) regulation in the OT of urethane-anesthetized rats using in vivo fast-scan voltammetry (FSCV) coupled with carbon-fiber microelectrodes, following optogenetic stimulation of the VTA. The results were compared with DA regulation in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a structure located adjacent to the OT and which also receives dense DA innervation from the VTA. FSCV coupled with optically evoked release allowed us to investigate the spatial distribution of DA in the OT and characterize OT DA dynamics (release and clearance) with subsecond temporal and micrometer spatial resolution for the first time. In this study, we demonstrated that DA transporters play an important role in regulating DA in the OT. However, the control of extracellular DA by uptake in the OT was less than in the NAc. The difference in DA transmission in the terminal fields of the OT and NAc may be involved in region-specific responses to drugs of abuse and contrasting roles in mediating reward-related behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation*
  • Male
  • Microelectrodes
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Olfactory Tubercle / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Dopamine