The effect of chronic treatment with the tricyclic antidepressant drug, imipramine (10 mg/kg per day), the selective serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine hydrochloride (10 mg/kg per day), and vehicle, in drinking water for 24-28 days followed by 3-5 days withdrawal, on extracellular dopamine levels was studied in rat nucleus accumbens by in vivo microdialysis. Basal extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens were increased after chronic imipramine (12.7 ± 1.5 fmol/20 μl per 30 min, P = 0.019), and moderately decreased after chronic fluoxetine (6.5 ± 0.6, P = 0.047), as compared to the vehicle controls (9.1 ± 0.7), determined by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Repeated measure ANOVA indicated that the D-amphetamine sulfate (0.5 mg/kg, s.c.)-induced increase in extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens was potentiated after chronic imipramine (P = 0.002), but unchanged after chronic fluoxetine (P = 0.83). The difference in the effect of amphetamine could be influenced by the significant differences in basal levels. However, these results were also confirmed by analysis of the net area under the curve (net-AUC) for a 180- min period (six samples): for chronic imipramine (337 ± 45 fmol/180 min, P = 0.005) and chronic fluoxetine (249 ± 38, P = 0.57), as compared to the vehicle controls (178 ± 29), determined by one-way ANOVA. We suggest that the effect of treatment with these agents on mesolimbic dopamine is unlikely to be involved in their shared antidepressant action, but may be relevant to other aspects of the therapeutic profile of these two drugs, e.g. the switch into mania which is more common after treatment with imipramine than fluoxetine and exacerbation of positive symptoms in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
- Nucle us accumbens
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