Excessive ethanol (EtOH) use leads to impaired memory and cognition. Using a rat model of binge-like intoxication, we tested whether elevated corticosterone (Cort) levels contribute to the neurotoxic consequences of EtOH exposure. Rats were adrenalectomized (Adx) and implanted with cholesterol pellets, or cholesterol pellets containing basal, medium or high Cort. Intragastric EtOH or an isocaloric control solution was given 3 times daily for 4 days to achieve blood alcohol levels (BALs) ranging between 200-350 mg/dl. Mean 24 hour (24-hr) plasma Cort levels were ~110 ng/ml and ~40 ng/ml in intact EtOH treated and intact control, respectively. Basal Cort replacement in EtOH-treated Adx animals animals did not exacerbate alcohol-induced neurodegeneration in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) or the entorhinal cortex (EC) as observed by amino-cupric silver staining. In contrast, Cort replacement resulting in levels 2-fold higher (medium) than normal, or higher (high) in Adx-Cort-EtOH animals increased neurodegeneration. In separate experiments, pharmacological blockade of the Type II glucocortocoid (GC) receptor was initiated with mifepristone (RU38486; 0, 5, 15 mg/kg/day, i.p.). At the higher dose, mifepristone decreased the number of degenerating hippocampal DG cells in binge-EtOH treated intact animals, whereas, only a trend for reduction was observed in 15 mg/kg/day mifepristone treated animals in the EC, as determined by Fluoro Jade B staining. These results suggest that Cort in part mediates EtOH-induced neurotoxicity in the brain through activation of Type II GC receptors.
ethanol; corticosterone; neurodegeneration; mifepristone. dentate gyrus; Fluoro Jade B; RU38486; entorhinal cortex
The mu-opioid receptor encoded by the gene OPRM1 plays a primary role in opiate, alcohol, cocaine and nicotine addiction. Studies using opioid antagonists demonstrate that the mu-opioid receptor (MOP-r) also mediates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis stress response. A common polymorphism in exon one of the MOP-r gene, A118G, has been shown to significantly alter receptor function and MOP-r gene expression; therefore, this variant likely affects HPA-axis responsivity. In the current study, we have investigated whether the presence of the 118AG variant genotype affects HPA axis responsivity to the stressor metyrapone, which transiently blocks glucocorticoid production in the adrenal cortex. Forty-eight normal and healthy volunteers (32 men, 16 women) were studied, among whom nine men and seven women had the 118AG genotype. The 118G allele blunted the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) response to metyrapone. Although there was no difference in basal levels of ACTH, subjects with the 118AG genotype had a more modest rise and resultant significantly lower ACTH levels than those with the prototype 118AA at the 8-hour time point (P < 0.02). We found no significant difference between genders. These findings suggest a relatively greater tonic inhibition at hypothalamic–pituitary sites through the mu-opioid receptor and relatively less cyclical glucocorticoid inhibition in subjects with the 118G allele.
ACTH; genetics; HPA axis; metyrapone; mu-opioid receptor; OPRM1
Motivation to change is believed to be a key factor in therapeutic success in substance use disorders; however, the neurobiological mechanisms through which motivation to change impacts decreased substance use remain unclear. Existing research is conflicting, with some investigations supporting decreased and others reporting increased frontal activation to drug cues in individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorders. The present study investigated the relationship between motivation to change cocaine use and cue-elicited brain activity in cocaine-dependent individuals using two conceptualizations of “motivation to change:” 1) current treatment status (i.e., currently receiving vs. not receiving outpatient treatment for cocaine dependence) and 2) self-reported motivation to change substance use, using the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (SOCRATES; Miller and Tonigan, 1996). Thirty-eight cocaine-dependent individuals (14 currently in treatment) completed a diagnostic assessment and an fMRI cocaine cue-reactivity task. Whole-brain analyses demonstrated that both treatment-seeking and motivated participants had lower activation to cocaine cues in a wide variety of brain regions in the frontal, occipital, temporal, and cingulate cortices relative to non-treatment-seeking and less motivated participants. Future research is needed to explain the mechanism by which treatment and/or motivation impacts neural cue-reactivity, as such work could potentially aid in the development of more effective therapeutic techniques for substance-dependent patients.
cocaine dependence; cue reactivity; fMRI; motivation to change; SOCRATES; treatment seeking
Methylphenidate (MPH) is a commonly abused psychostimulant prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. MPH has a mechanism of action similar to cocaine (COC) and is commonly characterized as a dopamine transporter (DAT) blocker. While there has been extensive work aimed at understanding dopamine (DA) nerve terminal changes following COC self-administration, very little is known about the effects of MPH self-administration on the DA system. We used fast scan cyclic voltammetry in nucleus accumbens core slices from animals with a five-day self-administration history of 40 injections/day of either MPH (0.56 mg/kg) or COC (1.5 mg/kg) to explore alterations in baseline DA release and uptake kinetics as well as alterations in the interaction of each compound with the DAT. Although MPH and COC have similar behavioral effects, the consequences of self-administration on DA system parameters were found to be divergent. We show that COC self-administration reduced DAT levels and maximal rates of DA uptake, as well as reducing electrically stimulated release, suggesting decreased DA terminal function. In contrast, MPH self-administration increased DAT levels, DA uptake rates, and DA release, suggesting enhanced terminal function, which was supported by findings of increased metabolite/DA tissue content ratios. Tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA, protein and phosphorylation levels were also assessed in both groups. Additionally, COC self-administration reduced COC-induced DAT inhibition, while MPH self-administration increased MPH-induced DAT inhibition, suggesting opposite pharmacodynamic effects of these two drugs. These findings suggest that the factors governing DA system adaptations are more complicated than simple DA uptake blockade.
Cocaine; Dopamine; Dopamine Transporter; Methylphenidate; Nucleus Accumbens; Self-administration
Baclofen, a GABAB receptor agonist, is currently under investigation as a potential treatment to prevent relapse to drinking in alcohol dependent persons. In the current study, two groups of baboons were trained under a chained schedule of reinforcement (CSR), with 3 linked components, which were each correlated with different response requirements and cues. Fulfilling the requirement in the 2nd link initiated the 3rd link where either alcohol (n=4) or a preferred non-alcoholic beverage (Tang, n=5) was available for self-administration; failure to complete the response requirement in Link 2 ended the session (no access to alcohol or Tang). Seeking responses in Link 2 were used as indices of the motivational processes thought to be involved in relapse. The effects of baclofen (0.1 – 2.4 mg/kg) were examined under conditions with alcohol or Tang access and under extinction. Under the CSR baclofen (1.8 and 2.4 mg/kg) significantly decreased (p<0.05) alcohol self-administration responses and total g/kg alcohol intake. In contrast, only the highest dose of baclofen (2.4 mg/kg) reduced Tang self-administration and consumption. Under within-session extinction conditions, baclofen (1.8 and 2.4 mg/kg) facilitated extinction of responding for both alcohol and Tang, particularly during the first 10 min of extinction. Baclofen may be effective in reducing craving and alcohol drinking, although the facilitation of extinction and suppression of both alcohol and Tang self-administration by baclofen suggests these effects may be related to a more general suppression of consummatory and conditioned behaviors.
alcohol; baclofen; drug-seeking; extinction; nonhuman primate; reinforcement
5-hydroxytryptamine 3 (5HT3) receptors are important modulators of mesostriatal dopaminergic transmission and have been implicated in the pathophysiology of cocaine reward, withdrawal, and self-administration. In addition, the 5HT3 antagonist ondansetron is effective in treating early-onset, but not late-onset, alcohol-dependent subjects. To explore the role of 5HT3 receptor systems in cocaine addiction using functioning imaging, we administered ondansetron to 23 abstinent, treatment-seeking cocaine-addicted and 22 sex-, age-, and race-matched healthy control participants. Differences between early- (first use before 20 years, n=10) and late-onset (first use after 20 years, n=10) cocaine-addicted subjects were also assessed. On two separate days, subjects were administered ondansetron (0.15 mg/kg intravenously over 15 min) or saline. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured following each infusion with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). No significant rCBF differences between the cocaine-addicted and control participants were observed following ondansetron relative to saline. Early-onset subjects, however, showed increased (p < 0.001) right posterior parahippocampal rCBF following ondansetron. In contrast, late-onset subjects showed decreased rCBF following ondansetron in an overlapping region of the right parahippocampal/hippocampal gyrus. Early-onset subjects also displayed increased rCBF in the left anterior insula and subthalamic nucleus following ondansetron; late-onset subjects showed decreased rCBF in the right anterior insula. These findings suggest that age of drug use onset is associated with serotonergic biosignatures in cocaine-addicted subjects. Further clarification of these alterations may guide targeted treatment with serotonergic medications similar to those successfully used in alcohol-dependent patients.
Ibogaine is a naturally occurring alkaloid that has been reported to decrease various adverse phenotypes associated with exposure to drugs of abuse and alcohol in human and rodent models. Unfortunately, ibogaine cannot be used as a medication to treat addiction because of severe side effects. Previously, we reported that the desirable actions of ibogaine to reduce self-administration of, and relapse to, alcohol consumption are mediated via the upregulation of the expression of the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in the midbrain ventral tegmental area (VTA), and the consequent activation of the GDNF pathway. The ibogaine metabolite, noribogaine, and a synthetic derivative of ibogaine, 18-Methoxycoronaridine (18-MC), possess a similar anti-addictive profile as ibogaine in rodent models, but without some of its adverse side effects. Here, we determined whether noribogaine and/or 18-MC, like ibogaine, increase GDNF expression, and whether their site of action to reduce alcohol consumption is the VTA. We used SH-SY5Y cells as a cell culture model and found that noribogaine, like ibogaine, but not 18-MC, induces a robust increase in GDNF mRNA levels. Next, we tested the effect of intra-VTA infusion of noribogaine and 18-MC on rat operant alcohol self-administration and found that noribogaine, but not 18-MC, in the VTA decreases responding for alcohol. Together, our results suggest that noribogaine and 18-MC have different mechanisms and sites of action.
18-Methoxycoronaridine; addiction; ethanol self-administration; GDNF; ibogaine; noribogaine
Ghrelin (GHR) is an orexigenic gut peptide that interacts with brain ghrelin receptors (GHR-Rs) to promote food intake. Recent research suggests that GHR acts as a modulator of motivated behavior, suggesting a direct influence of GHR on brain reinforcement circuits. In the present studies, we investigated the role of GHR and GHR-Rs in brain reinforcement function. Pharmacological Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used to spatially-resolve the functional activation produced by systemic administration of an orexigenic GHR dose. The imaging data revealed a focal activation of a network of subcortical structures that comprise brain reinforcement circuits – ventral tegmental area, lateral hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens. We next analyzed whether brain reinforcement circuits require functional GHR-Rs. To this purpose, wild type (WT) or mutant rats sustaining ENU-induced knockout of GHR-Rs (GHR-R null rats) were implanted with stimulating electrodes aimed at the lateral hypothalamus, shaped to respond for intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and then tested using a rate-frequency procedure to examine ICSS response patterns. WT rats were readily shaped using stimulation intensities of 75 uA, whereas GHR-R null rats required 300 uA for ICSS shaping. No differences in rate-frequency curves were noted for WT rats at 75 uA and GHR-R null rats at 300 uA. When current intensity was lowered to 100 uA, GHR-R null rats did not respond for ICSS. Taken collectively, these data suggest that systemic GHR can activate mesolimbic dopaminergic areas, and highlight a facilitative role of GHR-Rs on the activity of brain reinforcement systems.
Food intake; Ghrelin; phMRI; Reward; Dopamine; Addiction
Stressful experiences in humans can result in elevated alcohol drinking, as exemplified in many individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, how stress history, rather than acute stressors, influences alcohol intake remains uncertain. To model the protracted effects of past stress, male Wistar rats were subjected to light-cued footshock stress (Stress History) or light cues alone (Control) prior to their acquisition of alcohol self-administration (1-h sessions, fixed ratio1–3, 100 µl of 10% v/v alcohol as reinforcer). Stress history did not alter mean alcohol intake during acquisition of self-administration, but it increased preference for the alcohol-paired lever over the inactive lever. Following an extinction period, rats with a history of stress exposure and low baseline alcohol intake showed a 2-fold elevation in alcohol self-administration, as compared to low-drinking rats with no stress history. Similar effects were not seen in rats self-administering 0.1% sucrose. Analysis of mRNA levels of phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10A), a dual-specificity cAMP and cGMP hydrolyzing enzyme, showed that stress history increased Pde10a mRNA levels in the basolateral amygdala and, in low drinking rats, the prelimbic prefrontal cortex (plPFC). Pde10a mRNA levels in the plPFC correlated directly with greater alcohol self-administration during the relapse-like phase, and greater BLA Pde10a mRNA levels correlated with increased ethanol preference after acquisition. The data demonstrate that stress history sensitizes otherwise low alcohol drinkers to consume more alcohol in a relapse-like situation, and identify stress-induced neuroadaptations in amygdala and prefrontal cortical Pde10a expression as changes that may drive heightened alcohol intake and preference in susceptible individuals.
alcohol or ethanol; phosphodiesterase 10A; post-traumatic stress disorder; relapse; stress; trauma
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met genotype has been associated with neurobehavioral deficits. To examine its relevance for addiction, we examined BDNF genotype differences in drug–seeking behavior.
Heroin-dependent volunteers (N=128) completed an interview that assessed past-month naturalistic drug seeking/use behaviors.
In African Americans (N=74), the Met allele was uncommon (carrier frequency 6.8%); thus, analyses focused on European Americans (N=54), in whom the Met allele was common (carrier frequency 37.0%). In their natural setting, Met carriers (n=20) reported more time– and cost–intensive heroin–seeking and more cigarette use than Val homozygotes (n=34). BDNF Val66Met genotype predicted 18.4% of variance in ‘weekly heroin investment’ (purchasing time × amount × frequency).
These data suggest the BDNF Met allele may confer a ‘preferred drug–invested’ phenotype, resistant to moderating effects of higher drug prices and non-drug reinforcement. These preliminary hypothesis-generating findings require replication, but are consistent with preclinical data that demonstrate neurotrophic influence in drug reinforcement. Whether this genotype is relevant to other abused substances besides opioids or nicotine, or treatment response, remains to be determined.
Heroin; Opioid; Drug-seeking phenotypes; BDNF Val66Met genotype; Cigarette use
Marijuana dependence is a substantial public health problem, with existing treatments showing limited efficacy. In laboratory and clinical studies, the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) agonist oral Δ9tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; dronabinol) has been shown to decrease marijuana withdrawal, but not relapse. Dronabinol has poor bioavailability, potentially contributing to its failure to decrease relapse. The synthetic THC analogue, nabilone, has better bioavailability than dronabinol. We therefore aimed to characterize nabilone's behavioral and physiological effects across a range of acute doses in current marijuana smokers, and compare these with dronabinol's effects. Participants (4F; 10M) smoking marijuana 6.6 (SD = 0.7) days/week completed this outpatient, within-subjects, double-blind, randomized protocol. Over 7 sessions, the time-dependent subjective, cognitive, and cardiovascular effects of nabilone (2, 4, 6, 8 mg), dronabinol (10, 20 mg) and placebo were assessed. Nabilone (4, 6, 8 mg) and dronabinol (10, 20 mg) increased ratings of feeling a good effect, a strong effect, and/or `high' relative to placebo; nabilone had a slower onset of peak subjective effects than dronabinol. Nabilone (6, 8 mg) modestly lowered psychomotor speed relative to placebo and dronabinol. There were dose-dependent increases in heart rate after nabilone, and nabilone (2 mg) and dronabinol (10 mg) decreased systolic blood pressure. Thus, nabilone produced sustained, dose-related increases in positive mood, few cognitive decrements, and lawful cardiovascular alterations. It had a longer time to peak effects than dronabinol and effects were more dose-related, suggesting improved bioavailability. Nabilone was well-tolerated by marijuana smokers, supporting further testing as a potential medication for marijuana dependence.
agonist treatment; dose-effect profile; dronabinol; marijuana dependence; nabilone
The effects of repeated, intermittent administration of a moderate dose of ethanol (3.4 g/kg/day × 6 days, intragas-trically via gavages) on cognitive function were examined in male Wistar rats. No significant differences in weight gain between the ethanol- and water-treated rats were found. Analysis of physical dependence revealed no signs of spontaneous withdrawal, whereas withdrawal signs exacerbated by Ro15-4513, an inverse benzodiazepine agonist, were apparent 5 hours but not 24 hours after the cessation of ethanol treatment. Spatial learning and memory, as assessed in the Barnes maze, were impaired 3–6 days following the treatment but recovered by the 11th–14th days. Reversal learning, however, was impaired throughout the 2-week observation period. Thus, bouts of moderate-dose ethanol administration transiently impair spatial learning and memory, and promote cognitive inflexibility. The employed ethanol exposure paradigm may provide a model of human cognitive deficits associated with alcohol binge drinking.
Animal model; behavioral flexibility; binge drinking; cognitive impairment; ethanol; rat; spatial
Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are mediators of the homeostatic and hedonic systems that modulate food ingestion. Hence, eCBs, by regulating the hedonic system, may be modulating the valence of the emotion associated to food ingestion (positive: pleasant, or negative: unpleasant). Our first goal was to demonstrate that palatable food induces conditioned place preference (CPP), hence a positive valence emotion. Additionally, we analyzed if this CPP is blocked by AM251, inducing a negative valence emotion, meaning avoiding the otherwise pursued compartment. The second goal was to demonstrate that CPP induced by regular food would be strengthened by the simultaneous administration of anandamide or oleamide and if such CPP is blocked by AM251. Finally, we tested the capacity of eCBs (without food) to induce CPP. Our results indicate that rats readily developed CPP to palatable food, which was blocked by AM251. The CPP induced by regular food was strengthened by eCBs and blocked by AM251. Finally, oleamide, unlike anandamide, induced CPP. These results showed that eCBs mediate the positive valence (CPP) of the emotion associated to food ingestion. It was also observed that the blockade of the CB1 receptor causes a loss of correlation between food and CPP (negative valence: avoidance). These data further support the role of eCBs as regulators of the hedonic value of food.
Anandamide; AM251; conditioned place preference; food ingestion; oleamide
Genetic research on cocaine dependence may help clarify our understanding of the disorder as well as provide insights for effective treatment. Since endocannabinoid signaling and dopamine neurotransmission have been shown to be involved with drug reward, genes related to these systems are plausible candidates for susceptibility to cocaine dependence. The cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) protein regulates both the endocannabinoid and dopaminergic neurobiological systems, and polymorphisms in the cannabinoid receptor gene, CNR1, have been previously been associated with substance dependence. In this study, we attempt to replicate a finding associating CNR1 with cocaine dependence in African Americans. Cocaine dependent individuals (n=883) and unaffected controls (n=334) of African descent were genotyped for two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CB1 gene (rs6454674, rs806368). We observed a significant difference in genotype frequencies between cases and controls for both SNPs (p≤0.05). This study confirms the association between variants in the CNR1 and cocaine dependence. However, considering the substantial co-morbidity of cocaine dependence with other drugs of abuse, additional studies are necessary to determine whether polymorphisms in CNR1 induce a general susceptibility to substance dependence or are specific to cocaine addiction.
Addiction; Association study; Cocaine; Cannabinoid receptor; Genetics; Substance abuse
Drug reinforcement learning is relevant for the development of addiction. The present study investigated how changes in the magnitude of drug-unconditioned stimulus during associative learning modulate the acquisition and extinction of cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP). B6;129S F2 mice were conditioned by three dosing schedules of cocaine: a) ascending, b) fixed, and c) descending daily doses. Following acquisition of CPP, extinction was induced by a) context reexposure, b) reconditioning by saline, and c) reconditioning by descending doses of cocaine. The magnitude of CPP following conditioning by daily ascending doses of cocaine (2,4,8 and 16 mg/kg) was significantly higher than that obtained from conditioning by either a fixed daily dose (16mg/kg × 4 days) or daily descending doses (24,12,6 and 3mg/kg). Extinction following context reexposure showed persistent CPP in the “ascending” group compared to the other two groups. However, extinction via reconditioning by saline was equally effective in all groups. Interestingly, reconditioning by descending doses of cocaine a) extinguished CPP and b) resulted in partial resistance to the reinstatement of conditioned response by cocaine priming. Results underscore the significance of daily changes in cocaine dosage in the development and extinction of drug-induced conditioned response. Increase and decrease in cocaine dosage strengthens and weakens cocaine-associated memory, respectively. Moreover, extinction by “tapering down” drug reward may be superior to extinction by saline.
cocaine; conditioned place preference; conditioned response; extinction; reinforcement learning
Model studies in mice indicate that the severity of alcohol withdrawal is associated with polymorphic variation and expression of the MPDZ gene. Current knowledge about variation in the human MPDZ gene is limited; however, our data indicate its potential association with alcohol dependence. The MPDZ protein is an important part of the NMDA-dependent AMPA receptor trafficking cascade that controls glutamate-related excitatory neurotransmission. To investigate association of variation in the NMDA-dependent AMPA trafficking cascade with alcohol dependence, we performed a gene-set (pathway) analysis using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data from the Study of Addiction: Genetic and Environment (SAGE). Rather than testing for association with each SNP individually, which typically has low power to detect small effects of multiple SNPs, gene set analysis applies a single statistical test to evaluate whether variation in a set of genes is associated with the phenotype of interest. Gene-set analysis of 988 SNPs in 13 genes in the pathway demonstrated a significant association with alcohol dependence, with p<0.01 for the global effect of variation in this pathway. The statistically significant association of alcohol dependence with genetic variation in the NMDA-dependent AMPA receptor trafficking cascade indicates a need for further investigation of the role of this pathway in alcohol dependence.
alcohol dependence; AMPA; genetics; NMDA; pathway analysis
The neuropeptide galanin and its three receptor subtypes (GalR1–3) are expressed in the central amygdala (CeA), a brain region involved in stress- and anxiety-related behaviors, as well as alcohol dependence. Galanin also has been suggested to play a role in alcohol intake and alcohol dependence. We examined the effects of galanin in CeA slices from wild type (WT) and knockout (KO) mice deficient of GalR2 and both GalR1 and GalR2 receptors. Galanin had dual effects on GABAergic transmission, decreasing the amplitudes of pharmacologically-isolated GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) in over half of CeA neurons but augmenting IPSPs in the others. The increase in IPSP size was absent after superfusion of the GalR3 antagonist SNAP 37889, whereas the IPSP depression was absent in CeA neurons of GalR1 × GalR2 double KO and GalR2 KO mice. Paired-pulse facilitation studies showed weak or infrequent effects of galanin on GABA release. Thus, galanin may act postsynaptically through GalR3 to augment GABAergic transmission in some CeA neurons, whereas GalR2 receptors likely are involved in the depression of IPSPs. Co-superfusion of ethanol, which augments IPSPs presynaptically, together with galanin caused summated effects of ethanol and galanin in those CeA neurons showing galanin-augmented IPSPs, suggesting the two agents act via different mechanisms in this population. However, in neurons showing IPSP-diminishing galanin effects, galanin blunted the ethanol effects, suggesting a preemptive effect of galanin. These findings may increase understanding of the complex cellular mechanisms that underlie the anxiety-related behavioral effects of galanin and ethanol in CeA.
electrophysiology; antidepressant; anxiety; alcohol; IPSP; synapse
Previous studies have shown that brief access to cocaine yields an increase in D2 receptor binding in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), but that extended access to cocaine results in normalized binding of D2 receptors (i.e. the D2 binding returned to control levels). Extended access conditions have also been shown to produce increased expression of the NR2 subunit of the NMDA receptor in the mPFC. These results implicate disrupted glutamate and dopamine function within this area. Therefore, in the present study, we monitored glutamate and dopamine content within the mPFC during, or 24 hrs after, cocaine self-administration, in animals that experienced various amounts of exposure to the drug. Naïve subjects showed decreased glutamate, and increased dopamine, levels within the mPFC during cocaine self-administration. Exposure to 7 lhr daily cocaine self-administration sessions did not alter the response to self-administered cocaine, but resulted in decreased basal dopamine levels. While exposure to 17 lhr sessions also resulted in reduced basal dopamine levels, these animals showed increased dopaminergic, but completely diminished glutamatergic, response to self-administered cocaine. Finally, exposure to 17 cocaine self-administration sessions, the last ten of which being 6h sessions, resulted in diminished glutamatergic response to self-administered cocaine and reduced basal glutamate levels within the mPFC, while normalizing (i.e. causing a return to control levels) both the dopaminergic response to self-administered cocaine as well as basal dopamine levels within this area. These data demonstrate directly that the transition to escalated cocaine use involves progressive changes in dopamine and glutamate function within the mPFC.
cocaine; dopamine; glutamate; microdialysis; no-net-flux; self-administration
This study aimed to examine sex differences in cocaine self-administration and cocaine-induced subjective and cardiovascular measures. The research was based on secondary analysis of data collected in our human laboratory in which subjects self-administered cocaine infusions (8, 16 and 32 mg/70 kg) over a 2-hour period under a fixed ratio 1, 5 minute time out schedule in three test sessions. Subjects were 10 women and 21 men with a history of either cocaine abuse or dependence who were not currently seeking treatment. Women and men self-administered similar amounts of cocaine. None of the subjective effects measures showed a significant main effect of sex during the cocaine self-administration session. Significant interactions were observed for subjective ratings of ‘high’ (sex × time) and ‘stimulated’ (sex × time × dose), with women reporting lower ratings over time/doses than men. Relative to men, cocaine produced dose- and time-dependent increases in feelings of hunger (i.e., reduced appetite suppression) in women. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures showed different patterns of change in men and women, with women showing less robust cocaine-induced increases than men. Taken together, these findings suggest that women and men may differ in their subjective and cardiovascular responses to self-administered cocaine. Further research that prospectively controls for hormonal influences upon these measures is needed.
Cardiovascular effects; cocaine; human; patient-controlled analgesia (PCA); regulation; subjective effects
The present study used conventional and quantitative microdialysis to assess glutamatergic and GABAergic neurotransmission in the hippocampal CA3 area of the rat following a moderate-dose ethanol treatment regimen. Male Wistar rats received 3.4 g/kg of ethanol or water for 6 days via gastric gavage. Microdialysis experiments commenced 2 days later. Basal and depolarization-induced glutamate overflow were significantly elevated in ethanol-treated animals. Basal and depolarization-induced gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) overflow were unaltered. Quantitative no-net-flux microdialysis was used to determine if changes in dialysate glutamate levels following ethanol administration are due to an increase in release or a decrease in uptake.To confirm the validity of this method for quantifying basal glutamate dynamics, extracellular concentrations of glutamate and the extraction fraction, which reflects changes in analyte clearance, were quantified in response to retro-dialysis of the glutamate uptake blocker trans-pyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylic acid (tPDC). tPDC significantly decreased the extraction fraction for glutamate, resulting in augmented extracellular glutamate concentrations. Repeated ethanol administration did not alter the glutamate extraction fraction. However, extracellular glutamate concentrations were significantly elevated, indicating that glutamate release is increased as a consequence of repeated ethanol administration. These data demonstrate that repeated bouts of moderate ethanol consumption alter basal glutamate dynamics in the CA3 region of the dorsal hippocampus. Basal glutamate release is augmented, whereas glutamate uptake is unchanged. Furthermore, they suggest that dysregulation of glutamate transmission in this region may contribute to the previously documented deficits in cognitive function associated with moderate dose ethanol use.
Ethanol; GABA; glutamate; hippocampus; microdialysis; rat
Methamphetamine (METH) is an increasing popular and highly addictive stimulant associated with autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction, cardiovascular pathology, and neurotoxicity. Heart rate variability (HRV) has been used to assess autonomic function and predict mortality in cardiac disorders and drug intoxication, but has not been characterized in METH use. We recorded HRV in a sample of currently abstinent individuals with a history of METH dependence compared to age- and gender-matched drug-free comparison subjects.
HRV was assessed using time domain, frequency domain, and nonlinear entropic analyses in 17 previously METH-dependent and 21 drug-free comparison individuals during a 5 minute rest period.
The METH-dependent group demonstrated significant reduction in HRV, reduced parasympathetic activity, and diminished heartbeat complexity relative to comparison participants. More recent METH use was associated with increased sympathetic tone.
Chronic METH exposure may be associated with decreased HRV, impaired vagal function, and reduction in heart rate complexity as assessed by multiple methods of analysis. We discuss and review evidence that impaired HRV may be related to the cardiotoxic or neurotoxic effects of prolonged METH use.
autonomic nervous system; entropy; heart rate variability; methamphetamine
Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) have been implicated in the regulation of anxiety, stress responses, and the neurobehavioral effects of psychostimulants. The present study was designed to examine whether antagonizing mGluR5 or activating mGluR2/3 prevents stress-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking. Male Wistar rats were trained to self-administer cocaine and then subjected to daily extinction training for 2 weeks. Subsequent exposure to 15 min of intermittent footshock elicited robust reinstatement of responding at the previously active lever. Both the selective mGluR5 antagonist MTEP (0-3 mg/kg, IP) and the selective mGluR2/3 agonist LY379268 (0-3 mg/kg, SC) prevented cocaine seeking induced by footshock stress following the same dose-response function. The data show that although mGluR2/3 and mGluR5 are differentially located on synaptic compartments, both LY379268 and MTEP produced the same behavioral effects in reducing stress-induced reinstatement. These results are important because they demonstrate that a reduction in glutamate-mediated neural excitability (albeit via different mechanisms of action) reverses footshock-induced reinstatement and suggest that pharmacological manipulations of mGluR2/3 and mGluR5 can prevent the effects of stress, a major precipitating factor for relapse. These findings further confirm that mGluR2/3 or mGluR5 are promising targets for relapse prevention.
addiction; LY379268; MTEP; self-administration; cocaine-seeking behavior; stress
Copy number variations (CNV) can alter the DNA sequence in blocks ranging from kilobases to megabases, involving more total nucleotides than single nucleotide polymorphisms. Yet, its impact in humans is far from fully understood. In this study, we investigate the relationship of genome wide CNVs with brain function elicited by an alcohol cue in 300 participants with alcohol use disorders. First, we extracted refined neurobiological phenotypes, the brain responses to an alcohol cue versus a juice cue in the precuneus, thalamus, and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Then, we correlated the CNVs with incidence frequency >1% to the neurobiological phenotypes. One CNV region at 22q13.1 was identified to be associated with alcohol dependence severity and the brain response to alcohol cues. Specifically, the 22k base-pair homozygous deletion at 22q13.1 affects genes APOBEC3a and APOBEC3b. Carriers of this homozygous deletion show a significantly higher score in the alcohol dependence severity (p < 0.05) and increased response to alcohol cues in the precuneus (p < 10-12) than other participants. Tests of a mediation model indicate that the precuneus mediates the association between the homozygous deletions and alcohol dependence severity. Interestingly, the precuneus is not only anatomically and functionally connected to the ACC and thalamus (the main active regions to the alcohol cue), but also has the most predictive power to the alcohol dependence severity. These findings suggest that the homozygous deletion at 22q13.1 may have an important impact on the function of the precuneus with downstream implications for alcohol dependence.
Alcohol use disorders; copy number variation; homozygous deletion; neurobiological phenotype; 22q13.1; precuneus; alcohol dependence
Smoking abstinence disrupts affective and cognitive processes. In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate the effects of smoking abstinence on emotional information processing (EIP).
Smokers (n=17) and nonsmokers (n=18) underwent fMRI while performing an emotional distractor oddball task in which rare targets were presented following negative and neutral task-irrelevant distractors. Smokers completed two sessions: once following 24-hr abstinence and once while satiated. The abstinent versus satiated states were compared by evaluating responses to distractor images and to targets following each distractor valence within frontal executive and limbic brain regions. Regression analyses were done to investigate whether self-reported negative affect influences brain response to images and targets. Exploratory regression analyses examined relations between baseline depressive symptoms and smoking state on brain function.
Smoking state affected response to target detection in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). During satiety, activation was greater in response to targets following negative versus neutral distractors; following abstinence, the reverse was observed. Withdrawal-related negative affect was associated with right insula activation to negative images. Finally, depression symptoms were associated with abstinence-induced hypoactive response to negative emotional distractors and task-relevant targets following negative distractors in frontal brain regions.
Neural processes related to novelty detection/attention in the right IFG may be disrupted by smoking abstinence and negative stimuli. Reactivity to emotional stimuli and the interfering effects on cognition are moderated by the magnitude of smoking state-dependent negative affect and baseline depressive symptoms.
affect; cognition; depression; emotion; fMRI; smoking
Associations between nicotine in cigarettes and food consumption may alter the incentive value of food such that food cue-reactivity is exaggerated during abstinence from smoking. This effect may contribute to the weight gain associated with cessation of smoking. We examined the effects of nicotine (0.4 mg/kg base SC) paired (NPD) or unpaired (NUP) with 10 % sucrose self-administration (0.2 ml/delivery, 1h/day for 10 days) on self-administration response rate and intake as well as sucrose cue-reactivity following either 1 or 30 days of forced abstinence. Rats were administered the training dose of nicotine prior to a second, consecutive cue-reactivity session. NPD rats responded at over 3 times the rate for sucrose, and earned nearly twice the number of sucrose deliveries, as NUP rats or saline controls. Sucrose cue-reactivity was greater after 30 days, vs. 1 day of forced abstinence for all groups. History of nicotine exposure had no effect on sucrose cue-reactivity. However, the subsequent injection of nicotine increased sucrose cue-reactivity only in the NPD groups. There were no abstinent-dependent effects of nicotine challenge on sucrose cue-reactivity. A study conducted in parallel with water as the reinforcer revealed a less dramatic effect of nicotine on intake. There was no history or abstinence-dependent effects of nicotine on water cue-reactivity. Nicotine increases the reinforcing effects of sucrose and sucrose-paired cues when nicotine is present. An implication of these findings is that relapse to nicotine (cigarettes) could substantially elevate food cue-reactivity.
Addiction; craving; eating disorders; incubation; motivation; relapse