The dorsal striatum (DS) is implicated in behavioral and neural processes including action control and reinforcement. Alcohol alters these processes in rodents, and it is believed that the development of alcohol use disorder involves changes in DS dopamine signaling. In nonhuman primates, the DS can be divided into caudate and putamen subregions. As part of a collaborative effort examining the effects of long-term alcohol self-administration in rhesus macaques, we examined DS dopamine signaling using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry. We found that chronic alcohol self-administration resulted in several dopamine system adaptations. Most notably, dopamine release was altered in a sex- and region-dependent manner. Following long-term alcohol consumption, male macaques, regardless of abstinence status, had reduced dopamine release in putamen, while only male macaques in abstinence had reduced dopamine release in caudate. In contrast, female macaques had enhanced dopamine release in the caudate, but not putamen. Dopamine uptake was also enhanced in females, but not males (regardless of abstinence state). We also found that dopamine D2/3 autoreceptor function was reduced in male, but not female, alcohol drinkers relative to control groups. Finally, we found that blockade of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors inhibited evoked dopamine release in nonhuman primates. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that long-term alcohol consumption can sex-dependently alter dopamine release, as well as its feedback control mechanisms in both DS subregions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health