Acute cocaine administration increases extraneuronal dopamine and Thr34 phosphorylation of dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein (M(r) 32 kDa; DARPP-32) in striatal and cortical areas. Novel palatable food consumption increases extraneuronal dopamine in the same areas. We examined the DARPP-32 phosphorylation pattern in food non-deprived rats at different times after vanilla sugar consumption. The phosphorylation state of DARPP-32 and two cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) substrates, GluR1 and NR1, were detected by immunoblotting. Thirty to 45 min after vanilla sugar consumption, phospho-Thr34 DARPP-32, GluR1 and NR1 levels increased in the nucleus accumbens, and phospho-Thr75 DARPP-32 levels decreased. At 60 min, all parameters returned to baseline values. However, 2 and 3 h after vanilla sugar consumption, phospho-Thr34 DARPP-32 levels decreased, while phospho-Thr75 DARPP-32 levels increased. In contrast to the pattern observed in the NAcS, no delayed changes in DARPP-32 phosphorylation were observed in the mPFC. Both early and delayed DARPP-32, GluR1 and NR1 phosphorylation changes were prevented by a dopamine D1 receptor antagonist administration. The delayed modifications in nucleus accumbens DARPP-32 phosphorylation were prevented by an mGluR5 antagonist administration. The mesolimbic dopaminergic response to an unfamiliar taste is correlated to a gustatory memory trace development, and the observed changes in DARPP-32 phosphorylation may be part of this process.