Dopamine (DA) is released in several brain areas, including the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), before and during copulation in male rats. DA agonists administered into this area facilitate, and DA antagonists inhibit, numerous motivated behaviors, including male sexual behavior. Serotonin (5-HT) is generally inhibitory to male sexual behavior. We reported previously that 5-HT is released in the anterior lateral hypothalamic area (LHA A) and that a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor microinjected into that area delayed and slowed copulation. Our present results, using high temporal resolution microdialysis, (1) confirm previous electrochemical evidence that extracellular levels of DA increase in the NAcc during copulation and decrease during the postejaculatory interval (PEI) and (2) reveal that LHA A 5-HT can inhibit both basal and female-elicited DA release in the NAcc. These findings suggest that the neural circuit promoting sexual quiescence during the PEI includes serotonergic input to the LHA A, which in turn inhibits DA release in the NAcc. These findings may also provide insights concerning the inhibitory control of other motivated behaviors activated by the NAcc and may have relevance for understanding the sexual side effects common to antidepressant medications. Key words: serotonin; lateral hypothalamic area; dopamine; nucleus accumbens; copulation; postejaculatory interval; microdialysis; male rats Male sexual behavior in humans, nonhuman primates, and rodents is influenced by dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmission (Bitran and Hull, 1987; Gorzalka et al., 1990
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