Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Behavioral Neuroscience

Committee Member

Helen Sable

Committee Member

Charles Blaha


Previous research has demonstrated that developmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) causes a decrease in dopamine (DA) levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), an important region of the brain associated with motivation and drug-seeking behavior. This study employed fixed potential amperometry to determine the effects that developmental PCB exposure (during gestation and lactation) in Long-Evans rats would have on medial forebrain bundle (MFB) stimulation-evoked DA efflux in the NAc following acute and chronic injections of cocaine (a dopamine reuptake inhibitor). A mixed ANOVA was used to analyze the results that were obtained, revealing that DA efflux in the NAc following stimulation of the MFB was significantly higher in PCB exposed rats following acute injections of cocaine while DA release in PCB exposed rats was attenuated following chronic cocaine injections. Continuous stimulation of the MFB revealed that the magnitude of stimulation-evoked NAc DA efflux was lower in PCB-exposed animals, indicative of a preexisting decrease in DA vesicular stores. Overall, these results support previous behavioral studies that suggest that developmental PCB exposure may alter the reinforcing properties of psychostimulants. Such findings have implications for humans, as PCB exposure may contribute to psychostimulant addiction risk.


Undergraduate Honor's Thesis

Library Comment

Honors thesis originally submitted to the Local University of Memphis Honor’s Thesis Repository.


Data is provided by the student.