Jasric Bland



Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science




Behavioral Neuroscience

Committee Member

Deranda Lester

Committee Member

Nick Simon


Dopamine transmission in the mesolimbic dopamine system has long been associated with reward and reinforcement behaviors. Research has shown that natural rewards in our environment, such as food, can increase dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens. Most drugs of abuse are also known to act on this reward pathway, which drives behaviors related to addiction. Previous animal studies have shown that a diet high in fat can lower behavioral responses to psychostimulants. Psychostimulants are commonly used illicitly (cocaine and methamphetamine) and medicinally (Ritalin and Adderall). The current study is the first to compare a high fat diet (Western Diet), vegan diet (Daniel Fast Diet), and standard lab chow (control diet) directly regarding their effect on mesolimbic dopamine transmission in living animals before and after administration of a psychostimulant (the dopamine reuptake blocker nomifensine). In vivo fixed potential amperometry with carbon fiber recording electrodes will be used to record real-time dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens of anesthetized mice. Using a one-way between subjects AVOVA we were able to compare the effect of diet on dopamine half-life and the response to the reuptake blocker, Nomifesine. While there was no significant differences between the 3 groups concerning dopamine half-life, there was data to show reduced dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens of the Western Diet mice compared to the control and Daniel Fast diet mice. In addition to these results, we discovered reduced response in the Western Diet mice concerning Nomifensine. This study has allowed us to make deeper connections between diet and susceptibility to psychostimulants.


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.