GABAergic blockade of cocaine-associated cue-induced increases in nucleus accumbens dopamine

Madina R. Gerasimov, Wynne K. Schiffer, Eliot L. Gardner, Douglas A. Marsteller, Ian C. Lennon, Stephen J.C. Taylor, Jonathan D. Brodie, Charles R. Ashby, Stephen L. Dewey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Environments previously associated with drug use can become one of the most common factors triggering relapse to drug-seeking behavior. To better understand the neurochemical mechanisms potentially mediating these cues, we measured nucleus accumbens dopamine levels in animals exposed to environmental cues previously paired with cocaine administration. In animals exposed to a cocaine-paired environment nucleus accumbens dopamine increased by 25%. When administered 2.5 h prior to presentation of the environmental trigger, racemic vigabatrin (an irreversible inhibitor of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-transaminase) abolished this cue-induced increase. Conversely, R-(-)-vigabatrin, the inactive enantiomer, had no effect. Combined with our earlier findings, these studies support the potential therapeutic benefit of this enzyme-based GABAergic strategy to modulate brain dopamine and the subsequent treatment of drug addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 2 2001


  • Cocaine
  • Conditioning
  • Contextual cue
  • GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid)
  • In vivo
  • Microdialysis
  • Vigabatrin

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