Stimulus-evoked changes in neostriatal dopamine levels in awake and anesthetized rats as measured by microdialysis

J. M. Tepper, I. Creese, D. H. Schwartz

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17 Scopus citations


The effect of medial forebrain bundle (MFB) stimulation on neostriatal dopamine levels was examined using in vivo microdialysis in urethane-anesthetized and awake, freely-moving rats in conjuction with single unit extracellular recordings from antidromically identified nigral dopaminergic neurons. Dialysis samples were collected during baseline periods or while stimulating the MFB with trains of 5 or 10 pulses at different frequencies within a physiologically relevant range. When the perfusion solution contained 1.2 mM Ca2+, even intense, high frequency stimulation was ineffective at producing significant elevations in neostriatal dopamine levels whereas cocaine or amphetamine reliably caused several-fold elevations in dopamine levels. When the perfusate contained 2.4 mM Ca2+, modest MFB stimulation within the range of spontaneous nigral cell firing produced large and reliable increases in dopamine levels. There was a significant correlation between the proportion of dopaminergic neurons that could be antidromically activated from the MFB and the increase in neostriatal dopamine. There was no effect of stimulus pattern on the increase in dopamine levels, and results obtained in awake, freely-moving animals did not differ from those obtained in anesthetized animals. These data provide good evidence that in vivo microdialysis is sensitive to neostriatal dopamine overflow evoked by stimulation within the normal rate of firing of nigrostriatal neurons and that Ringer's Ca2+ concentration is a critical variable in the detection of stimulus-induced release of dopamine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-292
Number of pages10
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 20 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Antidromic response
  • Dopamine
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Extracellular recording
  • Microdialysis
  • Neostriatum
  • Substantia nigra


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