Phasic dopamine release evoked by abused substances requires cannabinoid receptor activation

Joseph F. Cheer, Kate M. Wassum, Leslie A. Sombers, Michael L.A.V. Heien, Jennifer L. Ariansen, Brandon J. Aragona, Paul E.M. Phillips, R. Mark Wightman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

292 Scopus citations


Transient surges of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens are associated with drug seeking. Using a voltammetric sensor with high temporal and spatial resolution, we demonstrate differences in the temporal profile of dopamine concentration transients caused by acute doses of nicotine, ethanol, and cocaine in the nucleus accumbens shell of freely moving rats. Despite differential release dynamics, all drug effects are uniformly inhibited by administration of rimonabant, a cannabinoid receptor (CB1 ) antagonist, suggesting that an increase in endocannabinoid tone facilitates the effects of commonly abused drugs on subsecond dopamine release. These time-resolved chemical measurements provide unique insight into the neurobiological effectiveness of rimonabant in treating addictive disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-795
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 24 2007


  • Cocaine
  • Cyclic voltammetry
  • Dopamine
  • Ethanol
  • Nicotine
  • Rimonabant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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