Role of the increased noradrenergic neurotransmission in drug self-administration

Sunmee Wee, Zhixia Wang, Rong He, Jia Zhou, Alan P. Kozikowski, William L. Woolverton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Psychostimulants increase extracellular monoamine concentrations in the CNS. While the contributions of dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) to the reinforcing effect of psychostimulants have been examined, less is known about the involvement of norepinephrine (NE). In the present study, cocaine, desipramine (DMI) and JZ-III-84 were made available to rhesus monkeys (n = 4) responding under a progressive-ratio (PR) schedule. These compounds vary in their in vitro selectivities for blocking NE uptake relative to DA from high (DMI) to modest (JZ-III-84) to non-selective (cocaine). Additionally, cocaine mixed with DMI in mg/kg dose-ratios of 1:1 to 1:3 was made available for self-administration. NE uptake inhibition by the mixture of cocaine and DMI at a ratio of 1:3 was evaluated in an ex vivo uptake assay. Cocaine (0.01-0.1 mg/(kg injection)) and JZ-III-84 (0.001-0.1 mg/(kg injection)) functioned as positive reinforcers with sigmoidal or biphasic dose-response functions, whereas DMI failed to do so. The addition of DMI to cocaine did not systemically alter self-administration of cocaine. In the ex vivo uptake assay, the addition of DMI to cocaine significantly increased the NE uptake inhibition compared to cocaine. These results support the conclusion that CNS NE is not involved in the reinforcing mechanism of psychostimulants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-157
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 28 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Self-administration
  • Stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of the increased noradrenergic neurotransmission in drug self-administration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this