Effects of 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine lesions of the nucleus accumbens on rat intravenous morphine self-administration

Feng Chiao Zhou, Efrain C. Azmitia

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The role of serotonergic innervations of the nucleus accumbens in the processes maintaining intravenous morphine self-administration were assessed. Pairs of male rat littermates were implanted with intravenous jugular catheters and bilateral injection guide cannulae into the central medial nucleus accumbens, made physically dependent on morphine and then allowed to intravenously self-administer with continuous access. When stable baselines of drug intake were obtained (2-3 weeks), one of each pair received bilateral microinjections of vehicle and the other 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) into the nucleus accumbens. Response independent infusions of morphine were delivered for 24 hours at the previous rate of self-injection and the animals were again allowed to self-administer while drug intake was monitored for thirteen days. The littermate pairs were then sacrificed by immersion in liquid nitrogen, the brains removed at -20°C and frozen sections of the removed at -20°C and biogenic monoamine content determined. The 5,7-DHT lesions resulted in a significant increase in drug intake and significantly decreased the content of serotonin (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in the nucleus accumbens (-49% and -30%, respectively) and 5-HT in the anterior caudate nucleus (-14%) and pyriform cortex (-17%). Dose-effect relationships were assessed in four additional animals before and after similar bilateral 5,7-DHT lesions. The lesions resulted in similar rates of responding maintained by all drug doses including vehicle, thus eliminating the typical pattern of dose related decreases in responding as a function of increasing dose. 5-HT innervations of the nucleus accumbens appear to participate in neuronal activity mediating intravenous morphine self-administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-612
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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