D1 dopamine receptor stimulation increases GluR1 surface expression in nucleus accumbens neurons

Steven Z. Chao, Marjorie A. Ariano, Daniel A. Peterson, Marina E. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


The goal of this study was to understand how dopamine receptors, which are activated during psychostimulant administration, might influence glutamate-dependent forms of synaptic plasticity that are increasingly recognized as important to drug addiction. Regulation of the surface expression of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA) receptor subunit GluR1 plays a critical role in long-term potentiation, a well-characterized form of synaptic plasticity. Primary cultures of rat nucleus accumbens neurons were used to examine whether dopamine receptor stimulation influences cell surface expression of GluR1, detected using antibody to the extracellular portion of GluR1 and fluorescence microscopy. Surface GluR1 labeling on processes of medium spiny neurons and interneurons was increased by brief (5-15 min) incubation with a D1 agonist (1 μM SKF 81297). This effect was attenuated by the D1 receptor antagonist SCH 23390 (10 μM) and reproduced by the adenylyl cyclase activator forskolin (10 μM). Labeling was decreased by glutamate (10-50 μM, 15 min). These results are the first to demonstrate modulation of AMPA receptor surface expression by a non-glutamatergic G protein-coupled receptor. Normally, this may enable ongoing regulation of AMPA receptor transmission in response to changes in the activity of dopamine projections to the nucleus accumbens. When dopamine receptors are over-stimulated during chronic drug administration, this regulation may be disrupted, leading to inappropriate plasticity in neuronal circuits governing motivation and reward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-712
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • AMPA receptors
  • GluR1
  • Primary cultures
  • Protein kinase A
  • Receptor trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'D1 dopamine receptor stimulation increases GluR1 surface expression in nucleus accumbens neurons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this