Dopamine | Serotonin | Nicotinic Receptors | Cannabinoid CB1 Receptors | GABAA Receptor Systems | Glutamate Receptor Systems | Neuropeptides
Dopaminergic neurons in the mesolimbic region project from
the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the NAcc. The NAcc may be crucially
important in producing the rewarding actions of ethanol (Weiss and Porrino 2002). Ethanol administration enhances dopamine
release in the NAcc (Di Chiara and Imperato 1988; Yim and Gonzales 2000), which may result from ethanol-induced
increases in the firing rate of dopamine cells located in the VTA
(Brodie et al. 1999; Gessa et al. 1985).
The repeated administration of ethanol may result in sensitization
of dopamine VTA neurons to the effects of ethanol on dopamine cell
firing (Brodie 2002). However, during acute withdrawal
from ethanol, spontaneous activity of dopamine cells in the VTA
is decreased (Shen and Chiodo 1993), as is dopamine
release in the NAcc (Weiss et al. 1996).