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Dopamine (DA) neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is critically involved in normal as well as maladaptive motivated behaviors including drug addiction. Whether the striatal neuromodulator nitric oxide (NO) influences DA release in NAc is unknown. We investigated whether exogenous NO modulates DA transmission in NAc core and how this interaction varies depending on the frequency of presynaptic activation. We detected DA with cyclic voltammetry at carbon-fiber microelectrodes in mouse NAc in slices following stimuli spanning a full range of DA neuron firing frequencies (1-100 Hz). NO donors 3-morpholinosydnonimine hydrochloride (SIN-1) or z-1-N-(3-ammoniopropyl)- N-(n-propyl)aminodiazen-1-ium-1,2-diolate (PAPA/NONOate) enhanced DA release with increasing stimulus frequency. This NO-mediated enhancement of frequency sensitivity of DA release was not prevented by inhibition of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), DA transporters, or large conductance Ca 2+-activated K channels, and did not require glutamatergic or GABAergic input. However, experiments to identify whether frequency-dependent NO effects were mediated via changes in powerful acetylcholine-DA interactions revealed multiple components to NO modulation of DA release. In the presence of a nicotinic receptor antagonist (dihydro-Β-erythroidine), NO donors increased DA release in a frequency-independent manner. These data suggest that NO in the NAc can modulate DA release through multiple GC-independent neuronal mechanisms whose net outcome varies depending on the activity in DA neurons and accumbal cholinergic interneurons. In the presence of accumbal acetylcholine, NO promotes the sensitivity of DA release to presynaptic activation, but with reduced acetylcholine input, NO will promote DA release in an activity-independent manner through a direct action on dopaminergic terminals. © 2011 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1811 - 1822