Injection of CART (cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript) peptide into the nucleus accumbens reduces cocaine self-administration in rats

Jason N. Jaworski, Stephen T. Hansen, Michael J. Kuhar, Gregory P. Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptides appear to modulate various effects of psychostimulant drugs. Injections of CART peptide into the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) inhibit locomotion produced by systemic injections of the psychostimulants cocaine and amphetamine. Intra-NAcc injections of CART peptide also inhibit locomotion produced by microinfusions of dopamine into the NAcc, suggesting that the effects of CART peptides may be due to an interaction with the dopaminergic system in the NAcc. We sought to determine if this inhibitory effect of CART peptide generalizes to other measures of dopaminergic function such as reward/reinforcement by testing the effect of bilateral intra-NAcc CART infusions (0, 0.25, 1.0 and 2.5 μg per side) on cocaine and food self-administration. One group of rats self-administered cocaine (0.75 mg/kg per 140 μl IV infusion) on a progressive ratio schedule. A separate group received 45 mg food pellets on the same progressive ratio schedule. Bilateral intra-NAcc injections of CART peptide dose-dependently decreased the number of cocaine infusions, the breakpoint of cocaine self-administration, and the total number of bar presses on the cocaine-associated lever. There were no effects of CART injections on the breakpoint for food reward. Thus, we conclude that injections of CART into the NAcc appear to functionally antagonize a major site of action for cocaine self-administration in rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-271
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 22 2008



  • Addiction
  • Dopamine
  • Drug abuse
  • Feeding
  • Mesolimbic system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this