Cocaine withdrawal reduces dopamine transporter binding in the shell of the nucleus accumbens

Synapse. 1996 Jan;22(1):87-92. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2396(199601)22:1<87::AID-SYN10>3.0.CO;2-X.


We have previously shown that withdrawal from repeated, intermittent infusions of cocaine in Lewis rats results in a long-lasting reduction in dopamine transporter levels in the nucleus accumbens. The reduction is dose-dependent, requires multiple injections as well as about a 10-day withdrawal period. In this investigation, we show that the decrease (34%) occurs in the shell rather than in the core of the nucleus accumbens, and that a second cycle of cocaine administration and withdrawal has no additional effect. Also, there were no changes in transporter binding in the caudate putamen, the olfactory tubercle or the ventral tegmental area. These results indicate that the limbic portions of the nucleus accumbens are involved in neurochemical adaptations during withdrawal from cocaine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Cocaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Narcotics / adverse effects*
  • Neostriatum / metabolism
  • Neostriatum / pathology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / pathology
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism
  • Olfactory Bulb / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / pathology
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / metabolism
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / pathology


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Narcotics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RTI 121
  • Cocaine