, Volume 118, Issue 3, pp 338–346

Tolerance-like attenuation to contingent and noncontingent cocaine-induced elevation of extracellular dopamine in the ventral striatum following 7 days of withdrawal from chronic treatment

  • W. M. Meil
  • J. M. Roll
  • J. W. Grimm
  • A. M. Lynch
  • R. E. See
Original Investigation


Time-dependent changes in mesolimbic dopamine (DA) function are believed to play a role in behavioral sensitization and drug craving experienced during withdrawal from chronic cocaine administration. The present study utilized intravenous (IV) cocaine self-administration coupled with intracranial microdialysis in rats to investigate time dependent changes during withdrawal from chronic cocaine exposure. Following 2 weeks of IV cocaine self-administration, rats were allowed contingent access to cocaine at 1 and 7 days of withdrawal while extracellular levels of DA were measured from the ventral striatum. A second group of animals received yoked, noncontingent cocaine for 2 weeks and were then administered noncontingent cocaine on days 1 and 7 of withdrawal. In addition, a third group of animals received 2 weeks of yoked saline followed by noncontingent cocaine 1 day after withdrawal. There were no significant differences between groups for the overall cocaine dosage or temporal pattern of infusions on days 1 and 7 of withdrawal. Basal extracellular DA concentrations did not differ between any treatment groups at either withdrawal time. Extracellular DA levels were increased throughout the session on both days; however, the increases at day 7 were significantly less than day 1 for both contingent and noncontingent conditions. DA overflow on day 1 did not differ between animals receiving chronic yoked cocaine or saline. These results suggest that tolerance-like attenuation to the DA-elevating effects of cocaine is not apparent early in withdrawal, but does develop by later time points. DA release in the ventral striatum may not be directly related to cocaine self-administration following withdrawal, since DA levels were attenuated after 7 days of withdrawal while responding for cocaine was unaltered.

Key words

Microdialysis Dopamine Cocaine Self-administration Ventral striatum 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. M. Meil
    • 1
  • J. M. Roll
    • 1
  • J. W. Grimm
    • 1
  • A. M. Lynch
    • 1
  • R. E. See
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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