The present experiment employed chronoamperometry with stearate-graphite paste electrodes to monitor dopamine efflux in the nucleus accumbens during extinction and subsequent reinstatement of bar-pressing for a conditioned stimulus (CS) following presentation of a CS or following a systemic injection of d-amphetamine. Rats self-administered d-amphetamine (0.25 mg/kg per infusion) for 3 h a day on 6 consecutive days. Each infusion was paired with a flashing light CS. On the 7th day, rats self-administered d-amphetamine for 1 h, followed by 10 h of extinction. Presentation of the CS 2 days following extinction induced small and transient increases in responding for the CS, with no significant associated increases in DA efflux. Lower rates of responding were observed in rats that had received random presentations of the CS during d-amphetamine self-administration, and in an experimentally-naive control group. A subsequent systemic injection of d-amphetamine increased dopamine efflux in the nucleus accumbens in all groups and was most effective in reinstating bar-pressing in the CS-d-amphetamine paired group. This is consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to psychostimulant drugs, and a drug-paired CS, can reinstate drug-seeking behavior. Together, these findings suggest that enhanced DA efflux may contribute to the reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior induced by the single administration of a psychostimulant drug, but not transient reinstatement induced by presentation of a drug-paired CS alone following extinction.
- Drug self-administration
- Nucleus accumbens