The insular cortex has been associated with the processing of rewarding stimuli and with the neural bases of drug addiction. Ischemic damage to the insula has been associated with decreased desire to smoke cigarettes. Which component of insular function is involved in the neural basis of cigarette smoking is not clear. Dopamine systems are crucial for the reinforcing value of addictive drugs. The DA projection from the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) has been shown to be a vital pathway for the primary reinforcement caused by taking a variety of abused drugs. In the current set of studies, the roles of D1 and D2 receptors in the insular cortex in the self-administration of nicotine by rats were assessed. Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were fitted with jugular catheters and given access to self-administer nicotine. Bilateral local infusion cannulae were implanted into the agranular insular cortex to locally administer D1 and D2 antagonists (SCH-23390 and haloperidol). Acute local infusions of the D1 antagonist SCH-23390 into the insula (1-2μg/side) significantly decreased nicotine self-administration by more than 50%. Repeated infusions of SCH-23390 into the agranular insula caused continuing decreases in nicotine self-administration without signs of tolerance. In contrast, local infusions of the D2 antagonist haloperidol 0.5-2μg/side did not have any discernable effect on nicotine self-administration. These studies show the importance of DA D1 systems in the insula for nicotine reward.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience