Stereotaxic Localization of the Developing Nucleus Accumbens Septi

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Nucleus accumbens, Development, Rat, Microdialysis, Stereotaxic

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The nucleus accumbens septi (NAcc) has been implicated as a mediator of a variety of disorders, most notably substance abuse. The development of this system is a critical area for investigation, and has been largely overlooked. Specifically, few studies have focussed on dopamine (DA), its neurochemical pathways and the long-term consequences of manipulating the dopaminergic (DAergic) system in the developing animal. Important insight into the establishment of addiction, its development and time course, may be found by examining the development of the periadolescent DA system, specifically the mesocorticolimbic system. Recent developmental studies demonstrate dramatic changes in DAergic levels, receptor concentrations and transporter levels during periadolescent development. These ontogenetic changes, as well as drug exposure during development, may predispose the adolescent animal to addiction. Given that humans typically experiment with and initiate drug use during the adolescent period it is proposed that developmental alterations in the mesolimbic DA projection areas, specifically the NAcc, are an essential area for investigation in drug addiction. The present paper presents formulas for the weight-based calculation of stereotaxic coordinates for the NAcc in rats across development to facilitate further research in the area.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Developmental Brain Research, v. 130, issue 1, p. 149-153.