High impulsive choice is accompanied by an increase in dopamine release in rat dorsolateral striatum

Macarena Moreno, Victor Azocar, Alvaro Vergés, José Antonio Fuentealba*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Dopamine neurotransmission has been consistently associated with individual differences in impulsive choice. Clinical and preclinical evidence suggests that low striatal dopamine D2 signaling predisposes to engage in impulsive behaviors. Although dopamine D2 signaling controls dopamine (DA) extracellular levels, the relationship between striatal dopamine extracellular levels and impulsive choice remains poorly understood. Using quantitative microdialysis, we investigated whether extracellular DA levels in rat dorsolateral striatum (DLS) correlates with preference for an immediate small reward or for a delayed larger reward. Rats were tested in a delay-discounting task and classified as high impulsive (HI) or low impulsive (LI) according to the area under the discounting curve (AUC). No-net flux microdialysis experiments, assessing basal DA release, DA-uptake, and DA extracellular concentration (DA Cext), were carried out in dorsolateral striatum (DLS) of urethane-anesthetized rats. Rats classified as HI showed a higher DA release compared with LI rats. Differences in DLS DA-uptake and DA Cext were non-significant. Importantly, a significant negative correlation was observed between AUC and DA release, indicating that the lower the AUC, the higher the DLS DA release. This finding shows that DA release is augmented in the DLS of rats classified as HI, suggesting that a hyper-activated nigro-striatal pathway contributes to impulsive choice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113199
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - 7 May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Delay discounting task
  • Dopamine
  • Dorsolateral striatum
  • Impulsive choice
  • No-net flux microdialysis


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