The time-course effect of ionizing radiation on the levels of basal and KCl-stimulated striatal release of dopamine (DA) was examined in vivo using microdialysis techniques. The basal level of extracellular DA in sham-irradiated controls was 0.172 ± 0.042 pmol/sample (n = 9), and it increased 7.1-fold after the stimulation by 30 mM KCl (20 μl). However, the release of dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA), two metabolities of DA, was reduced significantly by 30 mM KCl (P < 0.05). In the presence of 10 μM forskolin, an activator of adenylate cyclase, a second stimulation by 30 mM KCl increased the release of DA 6.9-fold. Radiation exposure, at a dose of 10 Gy at 10 Gy/min, had no significant effect on the levels of either basal or KCl-stimulated release of DA or on the release of DOPAC and HVA. Striatal DA release increased in response to two consecutive challenges of KCl. However, the release of DA in response to the second challenge of KCl was significantly smaller than that after the first challenge (543 ± 110% compared to 794 ± 164%, P < 0.05; Student's paired t test). Pretreatment with 10 μM forskolin, which by itself had no significant effect on the level of basal release of DA, prevented the decreased response of DA to the second challenge of KCl. Our results suggest that radiation exposure at the dose we used has no significant effect on the level of the basal release of DA or the release of DA stimulated by 30 mM KCl in the rat striatum, and that a reduced release of DA in response to repeated KCl stimulation might involve the cAMP effector system.

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