Chronic Cocaine Administration Induces Opposite Changes in Dopamine Receptors in the Striatum and Nucleus Accumbens

Alcohol Drug Res. 1987;7(4):207-16.


A variety of clinical and animal data suggest that the repeated administration of cocaine and related psychomotor stimulants may be associated with a behavioral sensitization whereby the same dose of the drug results in increasing behavioral pathology. This investigation was designed to determine the effects of chronic cocaine administration on the binding of [3H]sulpiride, a relatively specific ligand for D2 dopaminergic receptors, in the rat brain using in vitro homogenate binding and light microscopic quantitative autoradiographic methodologies. Chronic daily injections of cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.) for 15 days resulted in a significant decrease in the maximum concentration of sulpiride binding sites in the striatum and a significant increase in the maximum number of these binding sites in the nucleus accumbens. No significant differences in binding affinity were observed in either brain region. These data suggest that chronic cocaine administration may result in differential effects on D2 receptors in the nigro-striatal and mesolimbic dopaminergic systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Caudate Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Septal Nuclei / drug effects*
  • Sulpiride / metabolism
  • Tritium


  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Tritium
  • Sulpiride
  • Cocaine