Effects of adolescent exposure to cocaine on locomotor activity and extracellular dopamine and glutamate levels in nucleus accumbens of DBA/2J mice

Rosana Camarini, William C. Griffin, Amy B. Yanke, Benvinda Rosalina dos Santos, Michael Olive

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28 Scopus citations


Adolescents differ from adults in their acute sensitivity to several drugs of abuse, but little is known about the long-term neurobehavioral effects of adolescent drug exposure. To explore this further, we evaluated the locomotor responses to repeated cocaine administration in adolescent and adult male DBA/2J mice and alterations in extracellular levels of dopamine (DA) and glutamate (GLU) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in response to a subsequent cocaine challenge. Adolescent and adult mice were treated daily with saline or cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p) for 9 consecutive days. Ten days following the last injection, animals were implanted with microdialysis probes and 24 h later microdialysis samples were collected before and after an acute cocaine challenge. Adolescents but not adults demonstrated development of behavioral sensitization to cocaine. Microdialysis procedures revealed that cocaine-treated mice displayed greater peak increases in extracellular DA in response to a subsequent cocaine challenge as compared to saline-treated mice, in contrast with lower peak increases in extracellular GLU. While adults exhibited greater peaks in extracellular DA in response to cocaine than adolescents did, adolescent mice presented a more rapid onset of peak extracellular DA levels than adults. Our results indicate differences in the behavioral and neurochemical responses to cocaine in adolescent versus adult mice, which may be relevant to the increased risk of developing addiction in humans who are exposed to drugs of abuse during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 8 2008
Externally publishedYes

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