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Extracellular levels of dopamine within the amygdala were monitored using in vivo microdialysis during performance of an appetitive Pavlovian conditioning task in sensitized rats and unsensitized controls. Animals received exposure either to D-amphetamine or to vehicle for seven consecutive days (2 mg/kg/day, i.p.) in the home cage. Training began following a further seven injection-free days. Animals were exposed to two session types: during conditioning sessions, a stimulus (tone or light) immediately preceded sucrose pellet delivery. During control sessions, the alternative stimulus was also presented, but not in temporal proximity to an otherwise identical schedule of pellet delivery. There was a total of three alternating presentations of each session type during training. Sensitization enhanced Pavlovian conditioned approach behaviour to the stimulus predictive of imminent pellet delivery, and was without effect upon approach behaviours either to the food pellets themselves or to the control stimulus. Extracellular levels of dopamine within the amygdala were assessed during the fourth conditioning and control sessions. Mesoamygdaloid dopamine efflux increased significantly during the conditioning test session, but not during the control session, and this dopaminergic response was more marked in rats with prior repeated D-amphetamine experience. Hence, these results add to evidence suggesting a role for amygdaloid dopamine in appetitive Pavlovian conditioning, and in the facilitation of associative learning following prior experience of D-amphetamine.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





119 - 130