Inactivation of either the SN or the VTA greatly reduced responding on the active lever. A previous study has shown that inhibiting DA cell impulse activity via DA autoreceptor activation reduced cocaine seeking (Marinelli et al. 2003). The attenuation of responding after SN inactivation is unlikely to have been due to simple motor inhibition, based on the fact that inactive lever responding was elevated in these rats and no evidence of impairment occurred during the locomotor activity test.
Because the SN provides the primary input of DA into the dlCPu, the finding that SN inactivation blocks reinstatement without adversely affecting spontaneous locomotion behavior further supports a critical role of dlCPu DA in relapse behavior.
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