Effects of intranucleus accumbens shell administration of dopamine agonists and antagonists on cocaine-taking and cocaine-seeking behaviors in the rat

Ryan K. Bachtell, Kimberly Whisler, David Karanian, David W. Self

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

123 Scopus citations


Rationale: Dopamine signaling in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) plays an important role in regulating drug-taking and drug-seeking behaviors, but the role of D1- and D2-like receptors in this regulation remains unclear. Objectives: Our objective was to study the role of NAc D 1- and D2-like receptors in the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior and the regulation of stabilized cocaine intake in rats. Methods: Using a within-session reinstatement procedure, whereby animals self-administer cocaine (90 min) and extinguish responding (150 min) in a single session, we assessed the ability of NAc microinfusions of the D1 agonist SKF 81297 and the D2 agonist 7-OH-DPAT to reinstate extinguished cocaine seeking. The effects of the D1 antagonist SCH 23390 and the D2 antagonist eticlopride pretreatment on agonist- and cocaine-primed reinstatement were also measured. Similar agonist and antagonist treatments were tested for their ability to modulate stabilized cocaine and sucrose self-administration. Results: Intra-NAc infusions of either SKF 81297 (0.3-3.0 μg) or 7-OH-DPAT (1.0-10.0 μg) dose-dependently reinstated cocaine seeking with greater efficacy in the medial core than in the shell subregion and at doses that also stimulated locomotor behavior. Intra-NAc shell infusions of SCH 23390 (1.0 μg) and eticlopride (3.0-10.0 μg) blocked cocaine-primed reinstatement (2.0 mg/kg, i.v.) and indiscriminately blocked reinstatement induced by either intra-NAc D1 or D2 agonists. Doses of agonists that triggered reinstatement failed to alter stabilized cocaine intake, whereas doses of antagonists that blocked reinstatement increased cocaine intake in the shell. Conclusions: Both D 1 and D2 receptors in the NAc play a prominent, and perhaps cooperative, role in regulating cocaine-taking and cocaine-seeking behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005



  • Craving
  • D receptor
  • D receptor
  • Incentive motivation
  • Reinstatement
  • Relapse
  • Reward
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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