Auditory stimulation by exposure to melodic music increases dopamine and serotonin activities in rat forebrain areas linked to reward and motor control

Neurosci Lett. 2018 Apr 23;673:73-78. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2018.02.058. Epub 2018 Feb 27.


Listening to melodic music is regarded as a non-pharmacological intervention that ameliorates various disease symptoms, likely by changing the activity of brain monoaminergic systems. Here, we investigated the effects of exposure to melodic music on the concentrations of dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT) and their respective metabolites in the caudate-putamen (CPu) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc), areas linked to reward and motor control. Male adult Wistar rats were randomly assigned to a control group or a group exposed to music. The music group was submitted to 8 music sessions [Mozart's sonata for two pianos (K. 488) at an average sound pressure of 65 dB]. The control rats were handled in the same way but were not exposed to music. Immediately after the last exposure or control session, the rats were euthanized, and their brains were quickly removed to analyze the concentrations of 5-HT, DA, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) in the CPu and NAcc. Auditory stimuli affected the monoaminergic system in these two brain structures. In the CPu, auditory stimuli increased the concentrations of DA and 5-HIAA but did not change the DOPAC or 5-HT levels. In the NAcc, music markedly increased the DOPAC/DA ratio, suggesting an increase in DA turnover. Our data indicate that auditory stimuli, such as exposure to melodic music, increase DA levels and the release of 5-HT in the CPu as well as DA turnover in the NAcc, suggesting that the music had a direct impact on monoamine activity in these brain areas.

Keywords: Caudate-putamen; Dopamine; Monoamines; Music; Nucleus accumbens; Serotonin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Music*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Prosencephalon / metabolism
  • Putamen / metabolism*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reward
  • Serotonin / metabolism*


  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine