Amphetamine augments vesicular dopamine release in the dorsal and ventral striatum through different mechanisms

Authors

  • Alicia J. Avelar,

    1. Cell Biology, Physiology & Development Section, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, UT Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA
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  • Steven A. Juliano,

    1. Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, & Systematics Section, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA
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  • Paul A. Garris

    Corresponding author
    • Cell Biology, Physiology & Development Section, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA
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Address correspondence and reprint requests to Paul A. Garris, PhD, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, 210 Julian Hall, Normal, IL 61790-4120, USA. E-mail: pagarri@ilstu.edu

Abstract

Amphetamine has well-established actions on pre-synaptic dopamine signaling, such as inhibiting uptake and degradation, activating synthesis, depleting vesicular stores, and promoting dopamine-transporter reversal and non-exocytotic release. Recent in vivo studies have identified an additional mechanism: augmenting vesicular release. In this study, we investigated how amphetamine elicits this effect. Our hypothesis was that amphetamine enhances vesicular dopamine release in dorsal and ventral striata by differentially targeting dopamine synthesis and degradation. In urethane-anesthetized rats, we employed voltammetry to monitor dopamine, electrical stimulation to deplete stores or assess vesicular release and uptake, and pharmacology to isolate degradation and synthesis. While amphetamine increased electrically evoked dopamine levels, inhibited uptake, and up-regulated vesicular release in both striatal sub-regions in controls, this psychostimulant elicited region-specific effects on evoked levels and vesicular release but not uptake in drug treatments. Evoked levels better correlated with vesicular release compared with uptake, supporting enhanced vesicular release as an important amphetamine mechanism. Taken together, these results suggested that amphetamine enhances vesicular release in the dorsal striatum by activating dopamine synthesis and inhibiting dopamine degradation, but targeting an alternative mechanism in the ventral striatum. Region-distinct activation of vesicular dopamine release highlights complex cellular actions of amphetamine and may have implications for its behavioral effects.

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