The present study investigated the effect of acute and repeated administrations of amphetamine (AMPH) on dopamine (DA), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the two main cytoarchitectonic subterritories of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) (anterior cingulate and dorsocaudal prelimbic cortices vs ventral prelimbic and rostral infralimbic cortices). Both the acute locomotor effects of AMPH and the expression of behavioral sensitization following its repeated administration were also simultaneously assessed. The repeated, intermittent administration of AMPH over five consecutive days led to a significant sensitized locomotor response to a subsequent challenge that occurred following a 48-h withdrawal period. Basal dialysate DA levels were higher in the ventral mPFC compared with its dorsal counterpart in naive animals, that is prior to the acute administration of AMPH. However, the inverse relationship was observed in animals that had developed sensitization: basal dialysate DA levels were significantly lower in the ventral mPFC compared with the dorsal mPFC. In naïve animals, AMPH produced a significant decrease in DA levels in both the ventral and dorsal subregions of the mPFC. However, the inverse relationship was observed in animals that had developed sensitization: dialysate DA levels in response to AMPH remained significantly decreased in the dorsal mPFC, whereas DA went back to baseline levels in the ventral mPFC. Given that a critical concentration of DA is required for normal function of the mPFC, our results suggest that AMPH-induced changes in DA levels in different subregions of the mPFC are critical for both the acute effects of the drug and the expression of behavioral sensitization to its repeated administration by producing either less or more selectivity or sharpening of stimuli to cortico-cortical dendrites and subcortical synaptic afferents to the pyramidal cells located in the dorso-ventral axis of the mPFC.
- Medial prefrontal cortex