Microdialysis in the mouse nucleus accumbens: A method for detection of monoamine and amino acid neurotransmitters with simultaneous assessment of locomotor activity

M. Foster Olive, Kristin K. Mehmert, Clyde W. Hodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Microdialysis has been extensively used to characterize the effects of drugs of abuse on extracellular levels of various neurotransmitters in nucleus accumbens (NAc) of the rat brain. However, recent advances in mouse genetics have prompted the need for studying the in vivo neurochemical correlates of drug intake in genetically engineered mice. While an earlier study has shown the feasibility of measuring monoamines in the NAc of behaving transgenic mice [I. Sillaber, A. Montkowski, R. Landgraf, N. Barden, F. Holsboer, R. Spanagel, Enhanced morphine-induced behavioural effects and dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens in a transgenic mouse model of impaired glucocorticoid (type II) receptor function: influence of long-term treatment with the antidepressant moclobemide, Neuroscience, 85 (1998) 415-425 ], in this protocol we demonstrate a method for measuring both monoamine and amino neurotransmitters from the NAc of freely moving mice combined with open field locomotor activity monitoring. Mice were implanted with guide cannulae aimed at the NAc and allowed 4 days of recovery before being implanted with microdialysis probes equipped with 1-mm cuprophane membranes. On the following day, mice were placed in plexiglass chambers equipped with infrared photobeams, where microdialysis samples and locomotor activity data were collected in 10-min intervals. Immediately after collection, microdialysis samples were split into two equal aliquots for separate analysis of monoamine and amino acid neurotransmitter content. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis revealed that norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, aspartate, glutamate, glycine, taurine, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) could be detected in each microdialysis sample. Thus, we have shown it is feasible to monitor extracellular levels of multiple neurotransmitters with simultaneous measurement of locomotor behavior in the mouse, making this model suitable for studying differential neurochemical and behavioral responses to drugs of abuse in genetically engineered mice. Themes: Neural basis of behavior. Topics: Drugs of abuse. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research Protocols
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Amino acid
  • Drug of abuse
  • Locomotor activity
  • Microdialysis
  • Monoamine
  • Mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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