Changes in extracellular dopamine induced by morphine and cocaine: crucial control by D2 receptors
Rouge-Pont F, Usiello A, Benoit-Marand M,
Gonon F, Piazza PV, Borrelli E.
Institut National de la Sante et
de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) U259,
Universite Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2,
33077 Bordeaux Cedex, France.
J Neurosci 2002 Apr 15;22(8):3293-301


An increase of extracellular dopamine (DA) concentration is a major neurobiological substrate of the addictive properties of drugs of abuse. In this article we investigated the contribution of the DA D2 receptor (D2R) in the control of this response. Extracellular DA levels were measured in the striatum of mice lacking D2R expression (D2R-/-) by in vivo microdialysis after administration of the psychostimulant cocaine and the opioid morphine. Interestingly, the increase in extracellular DA induced by both drugs was strikingly higher in D2R-/- than in wild-type littermates. This indicates that D2Rs play a key role in the modulation of DA release in response to drugs of abuse. Furthermore, this observation prompted us to investigate the dopaminergic autoreceptor function in the absence of D2 receptor in D2R-/- mice. Results obtained using complementary microdialysis and voltammetry analyses show that the autoreceptor function regulating DA release is totally abolished in the absence of D2R, despite unchanged DA uptake and basal DA efflux. Finally, we propose that the short isoform D2S receptor of the D2 receptors is the one controlling change in DA release induced by drugs of abuse. Indeed, the neurochemical effects of cocaine and morphine are unchanged in animals with a selective deletion of the long isoform D2L receptor. Thus, deregulated expression of D2R isoforms might be involved in the vulnerability of an individual to drug abuse.

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