Rats self-administer carbachol directly into the nucleus accumbens

Physiol Behav. 1998 Mar;63(5):811-4. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(98)00007-9.


The potential reinforcing effect of the muscarinic cholinergic agonist carbachol within the nucleus accumbens (ACB) was examined in female Wistar rats by using the technique of intracranial self-administration. Rats dose dependently self-administered solutions of 0.0-6.6 mM (in a volume of 100 nL per injection) directly into the ACB. Rats self-administered the 3.3 and 6.6 mM doses significantly more than the group given only vehicle. The caudate putamen did not support reliable self-administration of the 6.6-mM dose. Rats exhibited preference for the lever that produced infusions of 3.3 and 6.6 mM carbachol into the ACB over the lever that had no consequence. The self-infusion of the 6.6-mM dose into the ACB was inhibited by the coadministration of the muscarinic antagonist scopolamine (0.25 mM), but not by the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine (6.6 mM). The present results suggest that direct activation of muscarinic receptors within the ACB supports self-administration and could result from reinforcement or from elicitation of a novel stimulus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Carbachol / administration & dosage*
  • Caudate Nucleus / drug effects
  • Caudate Nucleus / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Injections
  • Motivation*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Putamen / drug effects
  • Putamen / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / physiology
  • Self Administration


  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Carbachol