Schedule-induced polydipsia and the nucleus accumbens: Electrochemical measurements of dopamine efflux and effects of excitotoxic lesions in the core

Ruth Weissenborn, Charles D. Blaha, Philip Winn, Anthony G. Phillips

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The efflux of dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) core during the acquisition of schedule-induced polydipsia (drinking in response to intermittent food presentation) was measured using rapid scan voltammetry. DA efflux increased throughout the SIP sessions, always reaching a peak after the session had terminated. There was, however, no relationship between the acquisition of the drinking response to intermittent food presentation and DA efflux. When water was absent from the test chamber, DA efflux still increased and reached a peak after food delivery was terminated, dissociating drinking and increased DA efflux. Taken in conjunction with previously presented data, these results suggest that the presence of DA in the NAcc core might be necessary for the development of SIP but that its efflux does not bear a systematic relationship to the acquisition of adjunctive behaviour. In a second experiment the effects of NMDA-induced lesions of the NAcc core on the acquisition and performance of SIP were examined. Lesioned rats did not differ to controls in terms of water intake, mean drinking bout length, latency to panel press for food or to begin drinking. The number of drinking bouts/min was reduced in lesioned rats, but did not reach statistical significance; the number of panel presses/min was significantly reduced in lesioned rats. These data demonstrate that the NAcc core is not necessary for the development of SIP but that elements of performance are affected. This suggests that the development of SIP can be fractionated and that different neural elements control different aspects of its expression. These data are used to support the hypothesis that the NAcc core is involved in focusing behaviour and regulating switching between response options.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-158
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 1996


  • deprivation-induced drinking
  • dopamine
  • in vivo voltammetry
  • N-Methyl-D-aspartate
  • nucleus accumbens
  • schedule-induced polydipsia

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