Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Scott E. Bowen


Toluene is ubiquitous solvent commonly inhaled recreationally. Despite its frequency of misuse, there is little understanding of how toluene acts within the brain. To examine this, this master's thesis examined the impact of acutely inhaled toluene on dopamine (DA) release in the mouse CPu in vivo using microdialysis techniques. Toluene inhalation produced dose-dependent increases in DA levels as well as changes in locomotor activity. These effects were potentiated by pre-treatment with the GABAA antagonist bicuculline via reverse microdialysis delivery. These results suggest that the DA dynamics of toluene abuse are related to toluene's previously explored effects on the GABA system. It is possible that the action of toluene on GABA in the caudate actually inhibits toluene's action on DA. Another theory is that toluene activates multiple GABA receptor sites, and blocking GABAA blocked a primarily inhibitory pathway.