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Basolateral amygdala modulation of the nucleus accumbens dopamine response to stress: role of the medial prefrontal cortex


: Dr Alain Gratton, as above.


The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is involved in modulating affective responses to stress and, along with the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), receives a stress-responsive dopamine (DA) projection from the ventral tegmental area. The present study was undertaken to characterize the role of BLA DA D1 and D2/D3 receptor subtypes in modulating the NAc and mPFC DA responses to stress. Voltammetry was used to monitor, in freely behaving rats, stress-induced DA release in NAc or mPFC after injection of D1 (SCH 23390) or D2/D3 (raclopride) receptor antagonist into BLA. Intra-BLA SCH 23390 injection potentiated stress-induced NAc DA release but attenuated the mPFC DA stress response; raclopride had no effect on either the NAc or mPFC DA responses to stress. Based on these results, we also examined the possibility that BLA can indirectly modulate the NAc DA stress response via its projection to mPFC. To do so we studied the effects of intra-mPFC co-administration of D1 (SKF 38393) and D2/D3 (quinpirole) receptor agonists on the potentiated NAc DA stress response resulting from intra-BLA SCH 23390 injection. Alone, mPFC D1 and D2/D3 receptor co-activation had no effect on stress-induced NAc DA release, but did prevent the potentiated NAc DA stress response produced by BLA D1 receptor blockade. These findings indicate that BLA DA modulates the NAc and mPFC DA stress responses via activation of the D1 receptor subtype. They also suggest that BLA DA modulates stress-induced NAc DA release indirectly by modulating the mPFC DA response to stress.