Electrical stimulation of the hippocampal fimbria facilitates neuronal nitric oxide synthase activity in the medial shell of the rat nucleus accumbens: Modulation by dopamine D1 and D2 receptor activation

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The medial shell region of the nucleus accumbens (msNAc) is a key center for the regulation of goal-directed behavior and is likely to be dysfunctional in neuropsychiatric disorders such as addiction, depression and schizophrenia. Nitric oxide (NO)-producing interneurons in the msNAc are potently modulated by dopamine (DA) and may play an important role in synaptic integration in msNAc networks. In this study, neuronal NO synthase (nNOS) activity was measured in anesthetized rats using amperometric microsensors implanted into the msNAc or via histochemical techniques. In amperometric studies, NO oxidation current was recorded prior to and during electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral fimbria. Fimbria stimulation elicited a frequency and intensity-dependent increase in msNAc NO efflux which was attenuated by systemic administration of the nNOS inhibitor NG-propyl-L-arginine. Parallel studies using NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry to assay nNOS activity produced highly complementary outcomes. Moreover, systemic administration of either a DA D1 receptor agonist or a DA D2 receptor antagonist potentiated nNOS activity in the msNAc elicited by fimbria stimulation. These observations demonstrate for the first time that NO synthesis in nNOS expressing interneurons in the msNAc is facilitated by robust activation of hippocampal afferents in a manner that is differentially modulated by DA D1 and D2 receptor activation.

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