Self-injection of amphetamine directly into the brain

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1983;81(2):158-63. doi: 10.1007/BF00429012.


Rats learned to self-administer d-amphetamine (10 micrograms/microliter) through a cannula implanted in the nucleus accumbens. They responded more frequently for 65 +/- 15 nl of amphetamine than for equal amounts of saline. When presented with two levers (one amphetamine, one blank) they responded more on the correct lever for amphetamine. They would also switch levers, when necessary, to maintain access to the drug. When half the usual drug intake was given automatically, animals reduced their response rate by half, thus self-regulating the total amount of amphetamine they received. In tests for leakage into the ventricles, eight rats that self-injected with an accumbens cannula showed response extinction when switched to a ventricular cannula. We conclude that amphetamine self-injected into the accumbens is a positive reinforcer. This localization of 'amphetamine reward' suggests that the nucleus accumbens contains a synaptic mechanism underlying amphetamine abuse and, perhaps, also natural reinforcement of behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caudate Nucleus
  • Dextroamphetamine / administration & dosage
  • Dextroamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / drug effects
  • Female
  • Injections
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Nucleus Accumbens
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Self Administration


  • Dextroamphetamine