This study examined the effect of repeated treatment with the antidepressant drugs, fluoxetine, desipramine and tranylcypromine, on dopamine receptor expression (mRNA and binding site density) in sub-regions of the nucleus accumbens and striatum of the rat. The effect of these treatments on extracellular levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens was also measured. Experiments using in situ hybridisation showed that the antidepressants caused a region-specific increase in D2 mRNA, this effect being most prominent in the nucleus accumbens shell. In contrast, none of the treatments increased D1 mRNA in any of the regions examined. Measurement of D2-like binding by receptor autoradiography, using the ligand [3H]YM-09151-2, revealed that both fluoxetine and desipramine increased D2-like binding in the nucleus accumbens shell; fluoxetine had a similar effect in the nucleus accumbens core. Tranylcypromine, however, had no effect on D2-like binding in the nucleus accumbens but decreased binding in the striatum. In microdialysis experiments, our data showed that levels of extracellular dopamine in the nucleus accumbens were not altered in rats treated with either fluoxetine or desipramine, but increased by tranylcypromine. From our findings, we propose that the antidepressant drugs tested enhance dopamine function in the nucleus accumbens through either increased expression of postsynaptic D2 receptors (fluoxetine and desipramine) or increased dopamine release (tranylcypromine).
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Received: 5 January 1998/Final version: 6 April 1998
About this article
Cite this article
Ainsworth, K., Smith, S., Zetterström, T. et al. Effect of antidepressant drugs on dopamine D1 and D2 receptor expression and dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens of the rat. Psychopharmacology 140, 470–477 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s002130050791
- Key words Antidepressant drug
- Dopamine receptor
- Nucleus accumbens
- In situ hybridisation
- Receptor autoradiography