Acetylcholine turnover rates in rat brain regions during cocaine self-administration
Smith JE, Vaughn TC, Co C.
Center for the Neurobiological Investigation of Drug Abuse,
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology,
Wake Forest University School of Medicine,
Wake Forest University,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.
J Neurochem. 2004 Jan;88(2):502-12


The involvement of cholinergic neurons in the brain processes underlying reinforcement has been recently demonstrated. This experiment assessed the potential role of cholinergic neurons in cocaine reinforcement by measuring the turnover rates of acetylcholine in brain regions of rats self-administering cocaine and in yoked cocaine and yoked vehicle-infused controls. The activity of cholinergic innervations of and/or interneurons in the olfactory tubercle, caudate putamen, diagonal band-pre-optic region, ventral pallidum, lateral and medial hypothalamus, hippocampus, ventral tegmental area and visual cortices reflected by the turnover rates of acetylcholine were significantly altered in rats self-administering cocaine compared to yoked cocaine infused controls. These changes implicate the involvement of cholinergic neurons with cell bodies in the diagonal band-pre-optic region, the medial septum and several brainstem nuclei and interneurons in the caudate-putamen and ventral pallidum in the processes underlying cocaine self-administration. The identified cholinergic neuronal systems may have a broader role in the brain processes for natural reinforcers (i.e. food, water, etc.) since drugs of abuse are believed to produce reinforcing effects through these systems.

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