Ethanol (EtOH) affects prefrontal cortex functional roles such as decision making, working memory, and behavioral control. Yet, the pharmacological effect of EtOH on dopamine, a neuromodulator in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), is unclear. Past studies exploring this topic produced conflicting outcomes; however, a handful of factors (temporal resolution, method of drug administration, estrous cycle) possibly contributed to these discrepancies. We sought to mitigate these factors in order to elucidate EtOH's pharmacological effects on mPFC dopamine in Long–Evans rats.
These experiments show that, using experimental methods that minimize possibly confounding factors, acute iv EtOH increases extracellular dopamine in the mPFC in a dose-dependent manner, thereby clarifying EtOH's pharmacological effects on the mesocortical dopamine system.
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