Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Matthew I. Palmatier

Committee Members

Gerald A. Deehan, Russel W. Brown, Thomas C. Jones


Projections from the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) to the Ventral Pallidum (VP) play a critical role in motivation and reward. Rewards and reward-associated cues are thought to alter this pathway by suppressing GABA release to the VP, however, the role of the NAc to VP pathway has never been investigated with regard to nicotine self-administration. We hypothesized that increasing GABAergic signaling from the NAc to the VP would decrease the reinforcing effects of nicotine. To increase GABA release, CRE dependent DREADD was expressed in the NAc of male rats. Administration of low dose clozapine activated the DREADD receptor and showed a reduction in responding for nicotine suggesting that activation of the NAc to VP pathway reduced reinforcement. However, a nonspecific effect was observed leading to future investigation of locomotor activity. Immunohistochemistry and microdialysis were used to confirm DREADD expression in the NAc and increased extracellular GABA in the VP.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.