Mesolimbic Dopamine Activation—The Key to Nicotine Reinforcement?

  1. Greg Bock Organizer and
  2. Joan Marsh
  1. Paul B. S. Clarke

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470513965.ch9

Ciba Foundation Symposium 152 - The Biology of Nicotine Dependence

Ciba Foundation Symposium 152 - The Biology of Nicotine Dependence

How to Cite

Clarke, P. B. S. (2007) Mesolimbic Dopamine Activation—The Key to Nicotine Reinforcement?, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 152 - The Biology of Nicotine Dependence (eds G. Bock and J. Marsh), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470513965.ch9

Author Information

  1. Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, McGill University, Suite 1325, McIntyre Medical Sciences Building, 3655 Drummond Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1Y6

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471926887

Online ISBN: 9780470513965

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Keywords:

  • mesolimbic dopamine activation;
  • nicotine reinforcement;
  • mesolimbic neurons;
  • amphetamine;
  • nicotine dependence

Summary

The mesolimbic dopaminergic system appears to mediate the rewarding effects of certain stimulant drugs, such as (+)amphetamine. Autoradiographic mapping techniques have revealed that these neurons are potential targets for nicotine, since they possess nicotinic receptors located on their cell bodies and terminals in rat brain. Functional studies are consistent with this proposal: nicotine can increase the firing rate of these neurons, and nicotine-induced dopamine release has been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo. The locomotor stimulant effect resulting from the acute administration of nicotine is accompanied by, and appears to be dependent upon, activation of mesolimbic neurons. Likewise, destruction of this system appears to attenuate the acute rewarding effects of intravenous nicotine in rats. Thus, when administered intermittently, nicotine, like certain other stimulant drugs, may activate the mesolimbic dopamine system, and this action may contribute to the tobacco habit.