Sexual experience sensitizes mating-related nucleus accumbens dopamine responses of female Syrian hamsters

Jess G. Kohlert, Robert L. Meisel

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47 Scopus citations


We examined the effects of prior sexual experience on extracellular concentrations of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens of female hamsters. Nucleus accumbens dopamine was measured by in vivo microdialysis during mating in female Syrian hamsters that had previously been given six prior sexual encounters with a male, three prior encounters, or were sexually naive. High levels of sexual behavior were observed in all three groups, which were accompanied by increases in dialysate dopamine during periods when the male was present. However, females that received six prior sexual encounters had significantly elevated and prolonged increases in dialysate dopamine compared with those of the sexually naive females or females with only three prior sexual encounters with a male. The data indicate that the mesolimbic system can be sensitized by repeated experiences associated with a motivated behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 15 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grant IBN-9412543 from the National Science Foundation. We are grateful to Richard Rowe, Adam Hartman, and Alicia Faruzzi for their contributions to the histological preparation and behavioral data collection.

Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Intromission
  • Lordosis
  • Microdialysis
  • Sensitization
  • Ventral tegmentum


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