, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 486-494

Lack of evidence for an involvement of nucleus accumbens dopamine D1 receptors in the initiation of heroin self-administration in the rat

Abstract

The involvement of dopamine D1 receptor systems in the reinforcing properties of opiate reward was studied by examining the effect of the dopamine D1 antagonist SCH23390 on the initiation of heroin self-administration in rats. The D1 antagonist was administered daily systemically or locally in the nucleus accumbens (NAC), after which the animals were allowed to self-administer heroin (IV) in a 3-h session for 5 consecutive days. Systemic treatment with SCH23390 (0.17 and 0.5 mg.kg−1) significantly decreased heroin intake during initiation of heroin self-administration, while a dose of 0.06 mg.kg−1 was not effective. Local administration of SCH23390 (0.5 and 2.5 µg/site) in the NAC did not affect heroin intake. Both systemic and intra-accumbal administration of SCH23390 dose dependently decreased motor behavior measured in a small open field. The attenuation of heroin intake during initiation of heroin self-administration by blockade of dopamine D1 receptor systems may be due to a decrease in the reinforcing effects of heroin or more likely to a reduction in non-reinforcement-related behavior. The dopamine D1 receptors present in the NAC are probably not involved in opiate reward.