Cholecystokinin-induced excitation in the substantia nigra: Evidence for peripheral and central components

D. W. Hommer, M. Palkovits, J. N. Crawley, S. M. Paul, L. R. Skirboll

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Cholecystokinin (CCK), one of the most common brain peptides, coexists with dopamine (DA) in neurons of the medial substantia nigra (SN). CCK has been shown to excite these neurons following either direct iontophoretic or systemic administration suggesting that peripherally administered CCK may cross the blood brain barrier to act directly on nigral DA cells. However, biochemical evidence suggests that CCK does not cross the blood brain barrier, and several studies have shown that the behavioral and the satiety-inducing effects of peripherally administered CCK are abolished by vagotomy. In order to test for vagal mediation of the nigral response to systemically administered CCK, we examined the effects of a series of lesions to the vagal pathways on CCK- induced excitation in the SN. Neither acute thoracic nor chronic subdiaphragmatic vagotomies had any effect on the excitatory response of nigral DA neurons to systemically administered CCK. High cervical spinal cord transections were similarly without effect. In contrast, lesions of either vagal fibers in the medulla or of the efferent pathways from the nucleus tractus solitarii, the primary sensory nucleus of the vagus, produced significant attenuations of the nigral effects of systemically administered CCK. However, neither lesion blocked effects of CCK completely. We suggest that peripherally administered CCK has 2 components to its excitatory action in the SN; a component probably mediated through CCK receptors in the nucleus tractus solitarii and a direct action on DA neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1392
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985


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