Addiction biology

Involvement of lateral septum in alcohol's dopamine-elevating effect in the rat.

PMID 26365786


Drugs of abuse share the ability to increase extracellular dopamine (DA) levels in the mesolimbic DA system. This effect has been linked to positive and reinforcing experiences of drug consumption and is presumed to be of importance for continued use, as well as for the development of dependence and addiction. Previous rat studies from our lab have implicated a neuronal circuitry involving glycine receptors in nucleus accumbens (nAc) and, secondarily, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in ethanol's (EtOH) DA-elevating effect. The work presented here, performed in male Wistar rats, suggests that the lateral septum (LS), which has previously been associated with different aspects of EtOH-related behaviour, is involved as well. In vivo microdialysis methodology demonstrated that blocking the generation of action potentials in LS using tetrodotoxin prevented a DA increase in nAc after accumbal EtOH perfusion. Retrograde tracing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were used to identify and characterize cells projecting to VTA from nAc/LS and from LS to nAc. Based on the PCR results, cells projecting from both LS/nAc to anterior VTA and from LS to nAc were mainly GABAergic neurons expressing glycine receptors, and these cells are presumed to be involved in mediating the DA-elevating effect of EtOH. These results provide further evidence implicating LS in the reinforcing effects of EtOH. Additional studies are needed to investigate LS involvement in EtOH consumption behaviour and its potential role in the development of dependence and addiction.