Neurotransmitter systems of the medial prefrontal cortex

Potential role in sensitization to psychostimulants

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

230 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The mesocorticolimbic dopamine system, which arises in the ventral tegmental area and innervates the nucleus accumbens, among numerous other regions, has been implicated in processes associated with drug addiction, including behavioral sensitization. Behavioral sensitization is the enhanced motor-stimulant response that occurs with repeated exposure to psychostimulants. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), defined as the cortical region that has a reciprocal innervation with the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus, is also a terminal region of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system. The mPFC contains pyramidal glutamatergic neurons that serve as the primary output of this region. These pyramidal neurons are modulated by numerous neurotransmitter systems, including γ-aminobutyric acidergic interneurons and dopaminergic, noradrenergic, serotonergic, glutamatergic, cholinergic and peptidergic afferents. Changes in interactions between these various neurotransmitter systems in the mPFC may lead to alterations in behavioral responses. For example, recent studies have demonstrated a role for decreased mPFC dopaminergic transmission in the development of psychostimulant-induced behavioral sensitization. The present review will discuss the anatomical organization of the mPFC including descriptions of innervation patterns and receptor localization of the various neurotransmitter systems of this region. Data supporting or suggesting a role for each of these mPFC transmitter systems in the development of behavioral sensitization to cocaine and amphetamine will be presented. Finally a model of the mPFC that may be useful in directing future research efforts on the cortical mechanisms involved in the development of sensitization will be proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-228
Number of pages26
JournalBrain Research Reviews
Volume41
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

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Prefrontal Cortex
Neurotransmitter Agents
Pyramidal Cells
Dopamine
Mediodorsal Thalamic Nucleus
Ventral Tegmental Area
Nucleus Accumbens
Interneurons
Amphetamine
Thalamus
Cocaine
Cholinergic Agents
Substance-Related Disorders

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Neurotransmitter systems of the medial prefrontal cortex : Potential role in sensitization to psychostimulants. / Steketee, Jeffery.

In: Brain Research Reviews, Vol. 41, No. 2-3, 01.01.2003, p. 203-228.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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