The dopamine (DA) uptake/clearance properties of the DA transporter (DAT) in the core and shell of the nucleus accumbens were measured using in vivo electrochemical recordings. Calibrated amounts of a DA solution were pressure-ejected from a micropipette/electrode assembly placed in the core or shell of the nucleus accumbens in anesthetized male Fischer 344 rats. Initial studies in the two brain regions revealed that the core and shell have different DA clearance properties as measured by the extracellular DA signal amplitudes, clearance times, and clearance rates. Although the same number of picomoles of DA were applied, DA clearance signals recorded in shell had significantly greater amplitudes but faster clearance rates than those recorded in the core. Systemic administration of 20 mg/kg cocaine, a monoamine transporter inhibitor, greatly increased the signal amplitude from the locally applied DA in both the core and shell. Signal amplitudes were increased to a greater extent in the shell, compared with the core, after cocaine administration. However, cocaine affected the clearance time of DA only in the core and the DA clearance rate only in the shell. Taken together with previously reported data, these studies further support differential activity of the DAT in the core versus shell subregions of the nucleus accumbens. In addition, these data indicate that DATs are more sensitive to the effects of psychomotor stimulants, such as cocaine, in the shell of the nucleus accumbens.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.