Publications by authors named "Marek Schwendt"

33 Publications

Using rat operant delayed match-to-sample task to identify neural substrates recruited with increased working memory load.

Learn Mem 2020 11 15;27(11):467-476. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA.

The delayed match-to-sample task (DMS) is used to probe working memory (WM) across species. While the involvement of the PFC in this task has been established, limited information exists regarding the recruitment of broader circuitry, especially under the low- versus high-WM load. We sought to address this question by using a variable-delay operant DMS task. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained and tested to determine their baseline WM performance across all (0- to 24-sec) delays. Next, rats were tested in a single DMS test with either 0- or 24-sec fixed delay, to assess low-/high-load WM performance. - mRNA expression was quantified within cortical and subcortical regions and correlated with WM performance. High WM load up-regulated overall - mRNA expression within the PrL, as well as within a subset of mGlu5+ cells, with load-dependent, local activation of protein kinase C (PKC) as the proposed underlying molecular mechanism. The PrL activity negatively correlated with choice accuracy during high load WM performance. A broader circuitry, including several subcortical regions, was found to be activated under low and/or high load conditions. These findings highlight the role of mGlu5- and/or PKC-dependent signaling within the PrL, and corresponding recruitment of subcortical regions during high-load WM performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/lm.052134.120DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7571269PMC
November 2020

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in post-traumatic stress disorder and cocaine use disorder.

Stress 2020 11 24;23(6):638-650. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often comorbid with cocaine use disorder (CUD), but little is known about hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function in PTSD + CUD. Here we review the clinical and pre-clinical literature of PTSD and CUD with the goal of generating hypotheses about HPA axis activity in comorbid PTSD + CUD. Low glucocorticoid (CORT) levels immediately after trauma exposure are associated with PTSD. CORT administered within 12 h of trauma exposure reduces later PTSD symptoms. Weeks-years after trauma, meta-analyses find lower CORT levels in patients with PTSD relative to never-traumatized controls; the same is found in a pre-clinical model of PTSD. In rodents, reduced basal CORT levels are consistently found after chronic cocaine self-administration. Conversely, increased CORT levels are found in CUD patients during the first 2 weeks of cocaine abstinence. There is evidence for CORT hyper-suppression after dexamethasone, high glucocorticoid receptor (GR) number pre-trauma, and increased GR translocation to the nucleus in PTSD. Hyper-suppression of HPA axis activity after dexamethasone suggests that PTSD individuals may have increased anterior pituitary GR. Given evidence for decreased anterior pituitary GR in rats that self-administer cocaine, PTSD + CUD individuals may have normal GR density and low basal CORT levels during late abstinence. Future studies should aim to reconcile the differences in pre-clinical and clinical basal CORT levels during cocaine and assess HPA axis function in both rodent models of CUD that consider stress-susceptibility and in PTSD + CUD individuals. Although additional studies are necessary, individuals with PTSD + CUD may benefit from behavioral and psychopharmacological treatments to normalize HPA axis activity. LAY SUMMARY Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often comorbid with cocaine use disorder (CUD), but little is known about the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function in PTSD + CUD. The current review provides a synthesis of available clinical and pre-clinical data on PTSD and CUD with the goal of generating hypotheses about HPA axis activity in comorbid PTSD + CUD. While this review finds ample evidence supporting aberrant HPA axis activity in both PTSD and CUD, it suggests that more research is needed to understand the unique changes HPA axis activity in PTSD + CUD, as well as the bidirectional relationship between stress-susceptibility and motivation to seek cocaine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10253890.2020.1803824DOI Listing
November 2020

Long-term Changes in the Central Amygdala Proteome in Rats with a History of Chronic Cocaine Self-administration.

Neuroscience 2020 09 13;443:93-109. Epub 2020 Jun 13.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; Center for Addiction Research and Education, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. Electronic address:

The central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) is a striatum-like structure that contains mainly inhibitory circuits controlling a repertoire of (mal)adaptive behaviors related to pain, anxiety, motivation, and addiction. Neural activity in the CeA is also necessary for the expression of persistent and robust drug seeking, also termed 'incubation of drug craving.' However, neuroadaptations within this brain region supporting incubated drug craving have not been characterized. Here, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of protein expression in the CeA of male rats after prolonged (45-day) abstinence from extended-access cocaine self-administration using a quantitative proteomic approach. The proteomic analysis identified 228 unique proteins altered in cocaine rats relative to animals that received saline. Out of the identified proteins, 160 were downregulated, while 68 upregulated. Upregulation of tyrosine hydroxylase and downregulation of neural cell-adhesion protein contactin-1 were validated by immunoblotting. Follow-up analysis by the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis tool revealed alterations in protein networks associated with several neurobehavioral disorders, cellular function and morphology, as well as axogenesis, long-term potentiation, and receptor signaling pathways. This study suggests that chronic cocaine self-administration, followed by a prolonged abstinence results in reorganization of specific protein signaling networks within the CeA that may underlie incubated cocaine craving and identifies potential novel 'druggable' targets for the treatment of cocaine use disorder (CUD).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2020.06.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7483535PMC
September 2020

The role of glutamate mGlu5 and adenosine A2a receptor interactions in regulating working memory performance and persistent cocaine seeking in rats.

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2020 12 26;103:109979. Epub 2020 May 26.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, FL, USA; Center for Addiction Education and Research, University of Florida, FL, USA. Electronic address:

Cocaine use disorder (CUD) is associated with neurobehavioral deficits that are resistant to current treatments. While craving and high rates of relapse are prominent features of CUD, persistent cognitive impairments are common and linked to poorer treatment outcomes. Here we sought to develop an animal model to study post-cocaine changes in drug seeking and working memory, and to evaluate 'therapeutic' effects of combined glutamate mGlu5 and adenosine A2a receptor blockade. As mGlu5 antagonists reduce drug seeking, and A2a blockade ameliorates working memory impairment, we hypothesized that mGlu5 + A2a antagonist cocktail would reduce both cocaine relapse and post-cocaine working memory deficits. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were first trained and tested in an operant delayed match-to-sample (DMS) task to establish the working memory baseline, followed by 6 days of limited and 12 days of extended access cocaine self-administration. Chronic cocaine reduced working memory performance (abstinence day 30-40) and produced robust time-dependent cocaine seeking at 45-, but not 120-days of abstinence. Systemic administration of A2a antagonist KW-6002 (0.125 and 1 mg/kg) failed to rescue post-cocaine working memory deficit. It also failed to reverse working memory impairment produced by mGlu5 NAM MTEP (1 mg/kg). Finally, KW-6002 prevented the ability of MTEP to reduce cocaine seeking and increased locomotor behavior. Thus, despite mGlu5 and A2a being exclusively co-localized in the striatum and showing behavioral synergism towards reducing cocaine effects in some studies, our findings advocate against the use of mGlu5 + A2a antagonist cocktail as it may further compromise cognitive deficits and augment drug craving in CUD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.109979DOI Listing
December 2020

Ceftriaxone and mGlu2/3 interactions in the nucleus accumbens core affect the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking in male and female rats.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2020 Jul 7;237(7):2007-2018. Epub 2020 May 7.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, 114 Psychology, 945 Center Dr, Gainesville, FL, 32611-2250, USA.

Rationale: The beta-lactam antibiotic ceftriaxone reliably attenuates the reinstatement of cocaine seeking. While the restoration of nucleus accumbens core (NA core) GLT-1 expression is necessary for ceftriaxone to attenuate reinstatement, AAV-mediated GLT-1 overexpression is not sufficient to attenuate reinstatement and does not prevent glutamate efflux during reinstatement.

Aims: Here, we test the hypothesis that ceftriaxone attenuates reinstatement through interactions with glutamate autoreceptors mGlu2 and mGlu3 in the NA core.

Methods: Male and female rats self-administered cocaine for 12 days followed by 2-3 weeks of extinction training. During the last 6-10 days of extinction, rats received ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg IP) or vehicle. In experiment 1, rats were killed, and NA core tissue was biotinylated for assessment of total and surface expression of mGlu2 and mGlu3 via western blotting. In experiment 2, we tested the hypothesis that mGlu2/3 signaling is necessary for ceftriaxone to attenuate cue- and cocaine-primed reinstatement by administering bilateral intra-NA core infusion of mGlu2/3 antagonist LY341495 or vehicle immediately prior to reinstatement testing.

Results: mGlu2 expression was reduced by cocaine and restored by ceftriaxone. There were no effects of cocaine or ceftriaxone on mGlu3 expression. We observed no effects of estrus on expression of either protein. The antagonism of mGlu2/3 in the NA core during both cue- and cocaine-primed reinstatement tests prevented ceftriaxone from attenuating reinstatement.

Conclusions: These results indicate that ceftriaxone's effects depend on mGlu2/3 function and possibly mGlu2 receptor expression. Future work will test this hypothesis by manipulating mGlu2 expression in pathways that project to the NA core.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-020-05514-yDOI Listing
July 2020

The cognitive cost of reducing relapse to cocaine-seeking with mGlu5 allosteric modulators.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2020 Jan 24;237(1):115-125. Epub 2019 Aug 24.

Psychology Department, University of Florida, 114 Psychology Building, 945 Center Drive, Gainesville, FL, 32611-2250, USA.

Rationale: Cocaine use disorder (CUD) remains difficult to treat with no FDA-approved medications to reduce relapse. Antagonism of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) has been demonstrated to decrease cocaine-seeking but may also further compromise cognitive function in long-term cocaine users.

Objectives: Here we assessed the effect of repeated administration of negative or positive allosteric modulators (NAM or PAM) of mGlu5 on both cognitive performance and (context+cue)-primed cocaine-seeking after prolonged abstinence (≥ 45 days).

Methods: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent 6 days of short-access (1 h/day) and 12 days of long-access (6 h/day) cocaine self-administration. Rats were then trained and tested in a delayed match-to-sample (DMS) task to establish baseline working memory performance over a 5-day block of testing. Next, rats received daily systemic administration of the mGlu5 NAM 3-((2-methyl-1,3-thiazol-4-yl)ethynyl)pyridine hydrochloride (MTEP; 3 mg/kg), the mGlu5 PAM 3-cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide (CDPPB; 30 mg/kg) or vehicle prior to DMS testing during a block of 5 days, followed by a 5-day washout DMS testing block.

Results: MTEP and CDPPB decreased drug-seeking in response to cocaine-associated cues after prolonged abstinence. However, repeated treatment with MTEP impaired working memory, while CDPPB had no effects on performance.

Conclusions: These results emphasize the relevance of evaluating cognitive function within the context of investigating pharmacotherapies to treat CUD. Further research is needed to determine how two mechanistically different pharmacological compounds can exert the same behavioral effects to reduce cocaine-seeking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-019-05351-8DOI Listing
January 2020

The Divergent Effects of CDPPB and Cannabidiol on Fear Extinction and Anxiety in a Predator Scent Stress Model of PTSD in Rats.

Front Behav Neurosci 2019 10;13:91. Epub 2019 May 10.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) currently has no FDA-approved treatments that reduce symptoms in the majority of patients. The ability to extinguish fear memory associations is impaired in PTSD individuals. As such, the development of extinction-enhancing pharmacological agents to be used in combination with exposure therapies may benefit the treatment of PTSD. Both mGlu5 and CB1 receptors have been implicated in contextual fear extinction. Thus, here we tested the ability of the mGlu5 positive allosteric modulator 3-Cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide (CDPPB) and cannabidiol (CBD) to reduce both conditioned and unconditioned fear. We used a predator-threat animal model of PTSD which we and others have previously shown to capture the heterogeneity of anxiety responses observed in humans exposed to trauma. Here, 1 week following a 10-min exposure to predator scent stress, rats were classified into stress-Susceptible and stress-Resilient phenotypes using behavioral criteria for elevated plus maze and acoustic startle response performance. Two weeks after classification, rats underwent 3 days of contextual fear extinction and were treated with vehicle, CDPPB or CBD prior to each session. Finally, the light-dark box test was employed to assess phenotypic differences and the effects of CDPPB and CBD on unconditioned anxiety. CDPBB but not CBD, reduced freezing in Susceptible rats relative to vehicle. In the light-dark box test for unconditioned anxiety, CBD, but not CDPPB, reduced anxiety in Susceptible rats. Resilient rats displayed reduced anxiety in the light-dark box relative to Susceptible rats. Taken together, the present data indicate that enhancement of mGlu5 receptor signaling in populations vulnerable to stress may serve to offset a resistance to fear memory extinction without producing anxiogenic effects. Furthermore, in a susceptible population, CBD attenuates unconditioned but not conditioned fear. Taken together, these findings support the use of predator-threat stress exposure in combination with stress-susceptibility phenotype classification as a model for examining the unique drug response profiles and altered neuronal function that emerge as a consequence of the heterogeneity of psychophysiological response to stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523014PMC
May 2019

Neurobiological substrates of persistent working memory deficits and cocaine-seeking in the prelimbic cortex of rats with a history of extended access to cocaine self-administration.

Neurobiol Learn Mem 2019 05 1;161:92-105. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA; Center for Addiction Research and Education (CARE) at University of Florida, USA. Electronic address:

Cocaine use disorder (CUD) is associated with prefrontal cortex dysfunction and cognitive deficits that may contribute to persistent relapse susceptibility. As the relationship between cognitive deficits, cortical abnormalities and drug seeking is poorly understood, development of relevant animal models is of high clinical importance. Here, we used an animal model to characterize working memory and reversal learning in rats with a history of extended access cocaine self-administration and prolonged abstinence. We also investigated immediate and long-term functional changes within the prelimbic cortex (PrL) in relation to cognitive performance and drug-seeking. Adult male rats underwent 6 days of short-access (1 h/day) followed by 12 days of long-access (6 h/day) cocaine self-administration, or received passive saline infusions. Next, rats were tested in delayed match-to-sample (DMS) and (non)match-to-sample (NMS) tasks, and finally in a single context + cue relapse test on day 90 of abstinence. We found that a history of chronic cocaine self-administration impaired working memory, though sparing reversal learning, and that the components of these cognitive measures correlated with later drug-seeking. Further, we found that dysregulated metabolic activity and mGlu5 receptor signaling in the PrL of cocaine rats correlated with past working memory performance and/or drug-seeking, as indicated by the analysis of cytochrome oxidase reactivity, mGlu5 and Homer 1b/c protein expression, as well as Arc mRNA expression in mGlu5-positive cells. These findings advocate for a persistent post-cocaine PrL dysfunction, rooted in ineffective compensatory changes and manifested as impaired working memory performance and hyperreactivity to cocaine cues. Considering the possible interplay between the neural correlates underlying post-cocaine cognitive deficits and drug-seeking, cognitive function should be evaluated and considered when developing neurobiologically-based treatments of cocaine relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nlm.2019.03.007DOI Listing
May 2019

The effects of clavulanic acid and amoxicillin on cue-primed reinstatement of cocaine seeking.

Behav Neurosci 2019 Apr 4;133(2):247-254. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida.

Research using the cocaine self-administration and reinstatement animal model of relapse finds that the beta-lactam antibiotic, ceftriaxone, attenuates cocaine-primed reinstatement of cocaine seeking and upregulates two proteins that regulate glutamate release and reuptake (xCT and GLT-1, respectively) in the nucleus accumbens core (NAc). We tested three compounds with beta-lactam rings for their ability to attenuate cue-primed reinstatement and increase GLT-1 and xCT expression in the NAc and prefrontal cortex (PFC). Rats self-administered intravenous cocaine for 1 hr/day for 7 days then 6 hrs/day for 10 days. Cue-primed reinstatement tests began after 8-9 days of extinction training. Rats received oral vehicle, clavulanic acid (CA), amoxicillin (AMX), or CA + AMX (Augmentin; AUG) for 5 days prior to testing. Only AMX-treated rats demonstrated a reduction of cocaine-seeking that trended toward significance, warranting future investigation of a wider range of doses. In the NAc, GLT-1a expression was reduced in vehicle-treated rats relative to cocaine-naïve controls and was not restored by AMX or AUG. CA-treated rats reinstated more than vehicle-treated rats and exhibited GLT-1a and xCT expression intermediate between cocaine-naïve controls and vehicle-treated cocaine rats. In agreement with our previous work, cocaine did not decrease PFC GLT-1a expression. Cocaine reduced xCT expression in the PFC that was unchanged by any of the three compounds. These results indicate that AMX may be another beta-lactam that attenuates cocaine relapse. Furthermore, the upregulation of both GLT-1 and xCT in the NAc may be needed to attenuate cocaine seeking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bne0000297DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6508097PMC
April 2019

A novel rat model of comorbid PTSD and addiction reveals intersections between stress susceptibility and enhanced cocaine seeking with a role for mGlu5 receptors.

Transl Psychiatry 2018 10 5;8(1):209. Epub 2018 Oct 5.

Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA.

PTSD is highly comorbid with cocaine use disorder (CUD), and cocaine users with PTSD + CUD are more resistant to treatment. Here we sought to develop a rat model of PTSD + CUD in order to identify the neurobiological changes underlying such comorbidity and screen potential medications for reducing cocaine seeking in the PTSD population. We utilized a predator scent stress model of PTSD, wherein rats received a single exposure to the fox pheromone 2,5-dihydro-2,4,5-trimethylthiazoline (TMT). One week after TMT exposure, stress-susceptible (susceptible), intermediate, and resilient phenotypes were detected and were consistent with behavioral, corticosterone, and gene expression profiles 3 weeks post TMT. We assessed phenotypic differences in cocaine self-administration, extinction, and cue-primed reinstatement. Susceptible rats exhibited deficits in extinction learning and increased cue-primed reinstatement that was not prevented by Ceftriaxone, an antibiotic that consistently attenuates the reinstatement of cocaine seeking. TMT-exposed resilient rats displayed increased mGlu5 gene expression in the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex and did not display the enhanced cocaine seeking observed in susceptible rats. Combined treatment with the mGlu5 positive allosteric modulator 3-Cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1 H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide (CDPPB), fear extinction, and ceftriaxone prevented the reinstatement of cocaine seeking in susceptible rats with fear extinction an important mediating condition. These results highlight the need for animal models of PTSD to consider stress-responsivity, as only a subset of trauma-exposed individuals develop PTSD and these individuals likely exhibit distinct neurobiological changes compared with trauma-exposed populations who are resilient to stress. This work further identifies glutamate homeostasis and mGlu5 as a target for treating relapse in comorbid PTSD-cocaine addiction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-018-0265-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6173705PMC
October 2018

Chronic methamphetamine self-administration dysregulates 5-HT2A and mGlu2 receptor expression in the rat prefrontal and perirhinal cortex: Comparison to chronic phencyclidine and MK-801.

Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2018 12 18;175:89-100. Epub 2018 Sep 18.

Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA; Center for Addiction Research and Education (CARE) at University of Florida, USA. Electronic address:

Chronic methamphetamine (meth) abuse often turns into a compulsive drug-taking disorder accompanied by persistent cognitive deficits and re-occurring psychosis. Possible common neurobiological substrates underlying meth-induced deficits and schizophrenia remain poorly understood. Serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) and metabotropic glutamate 2 (mGlu2) receptors co-regulate psychosis-like behaviors and cognitive function in animals. Therefore, in the present study we examined the effects of chronic exposure to three different drugs known to produce persistent deficits in sensorimotor gating and cognition [meth, phencyclidine (PCP) and MK-801] on the expression of 5-HT2A and mGlu2 within the rat medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), dorsal hippocampus (dHPC) and perirhinal cortex (PRh). Adult male rats underwent 14 days of: (a) meth self-administration (6 h/day), (b) phencyclidine (PCP; 5 mg/kg, twice/day) administration, or (c) MK-801 (0.3 mg/kg, twice/day) administration. Seven days after the discontinuation of drug administration, tissues of interest were collected for protein expression analysis. We found that despite different pharmacological mechanism of action, chronic meth, PCP, and MK-801 similarly dysregulated 5-HT2A and mGlu2, as indicated by an increase in the 5-HT2A/mGlu2 expression ratio in the mPFC (all three tested drugs), PRh (meth and PCP), and dHPC (MK-801 only). Complementary changes in G-protein expression (increase in Gα and decrease in Gα) were also observed in the mPFC of meth animals. Finally, we found that 5-HT2A/mGlu2 cooperation can be mediated in part by the formation of the receptor heteromer in some, but not all cortical regions. In summary, these data suggest that a shift towards increased availability (and G-protein coupling) of cortical 5-HT2A vs. mGlu2 receptors may represent a common neurobiological mechanism underlying the emergence of psychosis and cognitive deficits observed in subjects with meth use disorder and schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2018.09.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6756482PMC
December 2018

The effects of ceftriaxone on cue-primed reinstatement of cocaine-seeking in male and female rats: estrous cycle effects on behavior and protein expression in the nucleus accumbens.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2018 03 2;235(3):837-848. Epub 2017 Dec 2.

Department of Psychology, University of Florida, 114 Psychology, 945 Center Dr, Gainesville, FL, 32611-2250, USA.

Rationale: Effective pharmacological treatments to prevent cocaine relapse remain elusive. In male rats, ceftriaxone attenuates the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking while increasing glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1) and xCT expression in the nucleus accumbens core (NAc). Despite reported sex differences in cocaine relapse, these effects have not yet been confirmed in female rats.

Objective: We investigated the effects of ceftriaxone on cue-primed reinstatement and cocaine-induced alterations in glutamatergic proteins in the NAc of female rats. Potential interactions between estrous phase and treatment were also assessed.

Method: Male and female rats self-administered cocaine in the presence of discrete cues for 12 days, followed by 2-3 weeks of extinction. Ceftriaxone or vehicle was administered daily for a minimum of 6 days immediately preceding a cue-primed reinstatement test.

Results: Total cocaine intake was greater in females than in males, but reinstatement behavior was similar. Ceftriaxone attenuated reinstatement in both sexes and was accompanied by increased expression of GLT-1a and xCT in the NAc. However, ceftriaxone attenuated reinstatement only when females were tested during met-, di-, and proestrus phases and not during estrus. A significant increase in AMPA receptor subunit GluA1 surface expression was also observed during estrus, potentially influencing reinstatement.

Conclusion: These findings extend the beneficial effects of ceftriaxone on persistent cocaine-seeking from males to females, increasing its potential as a pharmacological treatment for preventing relapse. The effects of estrus on GluA1 expression and reinstatement observed here indicate that females may need additional interventions during some phases of the menstrual cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4802-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5893281PMC
March 2018

The Effects of Extended-Access Cocaine Self-Administration on Working Memory Performance, Reversal Learning and Incubation of Cocaine-Seeking in Adult Male Rats.

J Addict Prev 2017 Apr 27;5(1). Epub 2017 Apr 27.

Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.

Cocaine use disorder is characterized not only by the high rate of relapse, but also by deficits in cognition and prefrontal cortical function. Still, the relationship between cognitive impairment and cocaine-seeking remains poorly understood. The current study used a rodent model to determine the effects of extended access cocaine self-administration on cognitive performance in a prefrontal cortex-dependent delayed match-to-sample/non-match-to-sample (DMS/DNMS) task. Further, this study sought to investigate how post-cocaine changes in cognitive performance correlate with cue/context-induced cocaine-seeking following a prolonged period of abstinence. Animals were trained to self-administer cocaine during 6 daily 1 hour-long sessions followed by 12 days of extended, 6 hour-long access. The extended access cocaine rats exhibited robust self-administration behavior and escalation of cocaine intake. Next, DMS/DNMS task was used to evaluate working memory capacity and reversal learning performance over a range of 0 - 30 s delays. Although this study failed to detect a major cognitive impairment, extended access to cocaine resulted in the persistent working memory/DMS deficit at a moderate cognitive load (10 s delay). There were no changes in the reversal learning/DNMS performance. It is likely that the parameters of the DMS/DNMS task, as used in the current study, exceeded acquisition capacity of rats thus obscuring cocaine effects at longer delays. Finally, rats showed a robust relapse of context/cue-elicited cocaine-seeking following the 45 - day abstinence. However, the intensity of cocaine-seeking did not correlate with the deficit in the DMS task. In conclusion, future studies must re-evaluate whether a more robust relationship between post-cocaine cognitive performance and cocaine-seeking can be detected under adjusted DMS/DNMS conditions.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573222PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.13188/2330-2178.1000035DOI Listing
April 2017

Contrasting the Role of xCT and GLT-1 Upregulation in the Ability of Ceftriaxone to Attenuate the Cue-Induced Reinstatement of Cocaine Seeking and Normalize AMPA Receptor Subunit Expression.

J Neurosci 2017 06 11;37(24):5809-5821. Epub 2017 May 11.

Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611,

Long-term treatment with ceftriaxone attenuates the reinstatement of cocaine seeking while increasing the function of the glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and system xC- (Sxc) in the nucleus accumbens core (NAc). Sxc contributes the majority of nonsynaptic extracellular glutamate in the NAc, while GLT-1 is responsible for the majority of glutamate uptake. Here we used antisense to decrease the expression of GLT-1 and xCT (a catalytic subunit of Sxc) to determine the relative importance of both proteins in mediating the ability of ceftriaxone to prevent cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking and normalize glutamatergic proteins in the NAc of rats. Intra-NAc xCT knockdown prevented ceftriaxone from attenuating reinstatement and from upregulating GLT-1 and resulted in increased surface expression of AMPA receptor subunits GluA1 and GluA2. Intra-NAc GLT-1 knockdown also prevented ceftriaxone from attenuating reinstatement and from upregulating xCT expression, without affecting GluA1 and GluA2 expression. In the absence of cocaine or ceftriaxone treatment, xCT knockdown in the NAc increased the expression of both GluA1 and GluA2 without affecting GLT-1 expression while GLT-1 knockdown had no effect. PCR and immunoprecipitation of GLT-1 revealed that ceftriaxone does not upregulate GLT-1 and xCT through a transcriptional mechanism, and their coregulation by ceftriaxone is not mediated by physical interaction. These data support important and distinct roles for xCT and GLT-1 in the actions of ceftriaxone and add to a body of literature finding evidence for coregulation of these transporters. Our results also point to xCT expression and subsequent basal glutamate levels as being a key mediator of AMPA receptor expression in the NAc. Ceftriaxone attenuates the reinstatement of cocaine, alcohol, and heroin seeking. The mechanism of action of this behavioral effect has been attributed to glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and xCT (a catalytic subunit of Sxc)/Sxc upregulation in the nucleus accumbens core. Here we used an antisense strategy to knock down GLT-1 or xCT in the nucleus accumbens core and examined the behavioral and molecular consequences. While upregulation of both xCT and GLT-1 are essential to the ability of ceftriaxone to attenuate cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking, each protein uniquely affects the expression of other glutamate receptor and transporter proteins. We also report that reducing basal glutamate levels through the manipulation of xCT expression increases the surface expression of AMPA receptor subunits, providing insight to the mechanism by which cocaine alters AMPA surface expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3717-16.2017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5473201PMC
June 2017

Protein kinase Cɛ activity regulates mGluR5 surface expression in the rat nucleus accumbens.

J Neurosci Res 2017 04 21;95(4):1079-1090. Epub 2016 Aug 21.

Psychology Department, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

Type 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR5) activate protein kinase C (PKC) via coupling to G protein signaling. We have previously demonstrated that the epsilon isoform of PKC (PKCɛ) is a critical downstream target of mGluR5 in regulating behavioral and biochemical responses to alcohol. Recent evidence suggests that PKC-mediated phosphorylation of mGluR5 can lead to receptor desensitization and internalization. We therefore sought to examine the specific involvement of PKCɛ in the regulation of mGluR5 surface expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a key regulator of alcohol-associated behaviors. Coronal brain sections from male Wistar rats were analyzed for either colocalization of mGluR5 and PKCɛ via immunohistochemistry or changes in mGluR5 surface expression and PKCɛ phosphorylation following local application of PKCɛ translocation activator or inhibitor peptides and/or an orthosteric mGluR5 agonist. We observed colocalization of mGluR5 and PKCɛ in the NAc. We also showed that intra-NAc infusion of the PKCɛ translocation inhibitor ɛV1-2 increased mGluR5 surface expression under baseline conditions. Stimulation of mGluR5 with an orthosteric agonist DHPG, dose dependently increased ERK1/2 and PKCɛ phosphorylation as well as mGluR5 internalization in acute NAc slices. Finally, we observed that activation of PKCɛ translocation with Tat-ΨɛRACK peptide mediates agonist-independent mGluR5 internalization, whereas PKCɛ translocation inhibitor ɛV1-2 prevents agonist-dependent internalization of mGluR5 in NAc slice preparations. These findings suggest that the subcellular localization of mGluR5 in the NAc is regulated by PKCɛ under basal and stimulation conditions, which may influence the role of mGluR5-PKCɛ signaling in alcohol-related behaviors. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jnr.23868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5296288PMC
April 2017

Post-cocaine changes in regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins in the dorsal striatum: Relevance for cocaine-seeking and protein kinase C-mediated phosphorylation.

Synapse 2016 10 21;70(10):432-40. Epub 2016 Jun 21.

Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-2250.

Persistent cocaine-induced neuroadaptations within the cortico-striatal circuitry might be related to elevated risk of relapse observed in human addicts even after months or years of drug-free abstinence. Identification of these neuroadaptations may lead development of novel, neurobiologically-based treatments of relapse. In the current study, 12 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats self-administered cocaine (or received yoked-saline) for two weeks followed by three weeks of home-cage abstinence. At this point, we analyzed expression of proteins involved in regulation of Gαi- and Gαq-protein signaling in the dorsal striatum (dSTR). Animals abstinent from chronic cocaine showed decreased expression of regulator of G-protein signaling 2 (RGS2) and RGS4, as well as upregulation of RGS9. These data, together with the increased ratio of Gαq-to-Gαi proteins indicated, "sensitized" Gαq signaling in the dSTR of abstinent cocaine animals. To evaluate activation of Gαq signaling during relapse, another group of abstinent cocaine animals (and yoked saline controls, 22 rats together) was reintroduced to the cocaine context and PKC-mediated phosphorylation in the dSTR was analyzed. Re-exposure to the cocaine context triggered cocaine seeking and increase in phosphorylation of cellular PKC substrates, including phospho-ERK and phospho-CREB. In conclusion, this study demonstrates persistent dysregulation of RGS proteins in the dSTR of abstinent cocaine animals that may produce an imbalance in local Gαq-to-Gαi signaling. This imbalance might be related to augmented PKC-mediated phosphorylation during relapse to cocaine-seeking. Future studies will address whether selective targeting of RGS proteins in the dSTR can be utilized to suppress PKC-mediated phosphorylation and relapse to cocaine-seeking.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5072987PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/syn.21917DOI Listing
October 2016

Conditioned stress prevents cue-primed cocaine reinstatement only in stress-responsive rats.

Stress 2016 07 3;19(4):406-18. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

a Department of Psychology , University of Florida , Gainesville , FL , USA ;

Neurobiological mechanisms underlying comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cocaine use disorder (CUD) are unknown. We aimed to develop an animal model of PTSD + CUD to examine the neurobiology underlying cocaine-seeking in the presence of PTSD comorbidity. Rats were exposed to cat urine once for 10-minutes and tested for anxiety-like behaviors one week later. Subsequently, rats underwent long-access (LgA) cocaine self-administration and extinction training. Rats were re-exposed to the trauma context and then immediately tested for cue-primed reinstatement of cocaine-seeking. Plasma and brains were collected afterwards for corticosterone assays and real-time qPCR analysis. Urine-exposed (UE; n = 23) and controls not exposed to urine (Ctrl; n = 11) did not differ in elevated plus maze behavior, but UE rats displayed significantly reduced habituation of the acoustic startle response (ASR) relative to Ctrl rats. A median split of ASR habituation scores was used to classify stress-responsive rats. UE rats (n = 10) self-administered more cocaine on Day 1 of LgA than control rats (Ctrl + Coc; n = 8). Re-exposure to the trauma context prevented cocaine reinstatement only in stress-responsive rats. Ctrl + Coc rats had lower plasma corticosterone concentrations than Ctrls, and decreased gene expression of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and Glcci1 in the hippocampus. Rats that self-administered cocaine displayed greater CRH expression in the amygdala that was independent of urine exposure. While we did not find that cat urine exposure induced a PTSD-like phenotype in our rats, the present study underscores the need to separate stressed rats into cohorts based on anxiety-like behavior in order to study individual vulnerability to PTSD + CUD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10253890.2016.1189898DOI Listing
July 2016

mGlu5 Receptors and Relapse to Cocaine-Seeking: The Role of Receptor Trafficking in Postrelapse Extinction Learning Deficits.

Neural Plast 2016 10;2016:9312508. Epub 2016 Jan 10.

Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.

We have previously demonstrated that MTEP, an allosteric antagonist of mGlu5, infused into the nucleus accumbens attenuates relapse after abstinence from cocaine self-administration. MTEP infused into the dorsolateral striatum (dlSTR) does not alter relapse but has long-lasting effects on subsequent extinction learning. Here we tested whether systemic MTEP would prevent relapse after abstinence or alter extinction learning. We also investigated the mechanism of action by which intra-dlSTR MTEP on test day alters extinction on subsequent days. Animals self-administered cocaine for 12 days followed by abstinence for 20-21 days. MTEP (0.5-5 mg/kg IP) was administered prior to placement into the operant chamber for a context-primed relapse test. A separate group of animals received intra-dlSTR MTEP prior to the relapse test and were sacrificed day later. Systemic administration of MTEP attenuated abstinent-relapse without significantly affecting extinction learning. Surface biotinylation analysis of protein expression in the dlSTR revealed that, in cocaine animals, intra-dlSTR MTEP administration decreased mGlu5 surface expression and prevented changes in Arc and GluA1/GluA2 observed in their vehicle counterparts. Thus, blockade of mGlu5 receptors may be utilized in future treatment strategies for relapse prevention in humans, although the effects of chronic blockade on extinction learning should be further evaluated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9312508DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4736983PMC
December 2016

Failure to Recognize Novelty after Extended Methamphetamine Self-Administration Results from Loss of Long-Term Depression in the Perirhinal Cortex.

Neuropsychopharmacology 2015 Oct 13;40(11):2526-35. Epub 2015 Apr 13.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.

Exposure to methamphetamine (meth) can produce lasting memory impairments in humans and rodents. We recently demonstrated that extended access meth self-administration results in novel object recognition (NOR) memory deficits in rats. Recognition of novelty depends upon intact perirhinal (pRh) cortex function, which is compromised by meth-induced downregulation of GluN2B-containing N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. NMDA receptors containing this subunit have a critical role in pRh long-term depression (LTD), one of the primary physiological processes thought to underlie object recognition memory. We hypothesized that meth-induced downregulation of GluN2B receptors would compromise pRh LTD, leading to loss of NOR memory. We found that meth self-administration resulted in an inability to induce pRh LTD following 1 Hz stimulation, an effect that was reversed with bath application of the NMDA receptor partial agonist D-cycloserine (DCS). In addition, pRh microinfusion of DCS restored meth-induced memory deficits. Furthermore, blockade of GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors with Ro 25-6981 prevented DCS restoration of pRh LTD in meth subjects. Thus, targeting pRh LTD may be a promising strategy to treat meth-induced cognitive impairment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2015.99DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4569960PMC
October 2015

The role of ventral and dorsal striatum mGluR5 in relapse to cocaine-seeking and extinction learning.

Addict Biol 2014 Jan 27;19(1):87-101. Epub 2013 May 27.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.

Cocaine addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by an inability to regulate drug-seeking behavior. Here we investigated the role of mGluR5 in the ventral and dorsal striatum in regulating cocaine-seeking following both abstinence and extinction. Animals underwent 2 weeks of cocaine self-administration followed by 3 weeks of home-cage abstinence. Animals were then reintroduced to the operant chamber for a context-induced relapse test, followed by 7-10 days of extinction training. Once responding was extinguished, cue-primed reinstatement test was conducted. Both drug-seeking tests were conducted in the presence of either mGluR5 negative allosteric modulator, MTEP or vehicle infused into either the nucleus accumbens (NA) core or dorsolateral striatum (dSTR). We found that MTEP infused in the NA core attenuated both context-induced relapse following abstinence and cue-primed reinstatement following extinction training. Blocking dSTR mGluR5 had no effect on context- or cue-induced cocaine-seeking. However, the intra-dSTR MTEP infusion on the context-induced relapse test day attenuated extinction learning for 4 days after the infusion. Furthermore, mGluR5 surface expression was reduced and LTD was absent in dSTR slices of animals undergoing 3 weeks of abstinence from cocaine but not sucrose self-administration. LTD was restored by bath application of VU-29, a positive allosteric modulator of mGluR5. Bath application of MTEP prevented the induction of LTD in dSTR slices from sucrose animals. Taken together, this data indicates that dSTR mGluR5 plays an essential role in extinction learning but not cocaine relapse, while NA core mGluR5 modulates drug-seeking following both extinction and abstinence from cocaine self-administration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.12061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762937PMC
January 2014

Extinction-dependent alterations in corticostriatal mGluR2/3 and mGluR7 receptors following chronic methamphetamine self-administration in rats.

PLoS One 2012 29;7(3):e34299. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America.

Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive and widely abused psychostimulant. Repeated use of meth can quickly lead to dependence, and may be accompanied by a variety of persistent psychiatric symptoms and cognitive impairments. The neuroadaptations underlying motivational and cognitive deficits produced by chronic meth intake remain poorly understood. Altered glutamate neurotransmission within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and striatum has been linked to both persistent drug-seeking and cognitive dysfunction. Therefore, the current study investigated changes in presynaptic mGluR receptors within corticostriatal circuitry after extended meth self-administration. Rats self-administered meth (or received yoked-saline) in 1 hr/day sessions for 7 days (short-access) followed by 14 days of 6 hrs/day (long-access). Rats displayed a progressive escalation of daily meth intake up to 6 mg/kg per day. After cessation of meth self-administration, rats underwent daily extinction or abstinence without extinction training for 14 days before being euthanized. Synaptosomes from the medial PFC, nucleus accumbens (NAc), and the dorsal striatum (dSTR) were isolated and labeled with membrane-impermeable biotin in order to measure surface mGluR2/3 and mGluR7 receptors. Extended access to meth self-administration followed by abstinence decreased surface and total levels of mGluR2/3 receptors in the NAc and dSTR, while in the PFC, only a loss of surface mGluR2/3 and mGluR7 receptors was detected. Daily extinction trials reversed the downregulation of mGluR2/3 receptors in the NAc and dSTR and mGluR7 in the PFC, but downregulation of surface mGluR2/3 receptors in the PFC was present regardless of post-meth experience. Thus, extinction learning can selectively restore some populations of downregulated mGluRs after prolonged exposure to meth. The present findings could have implications for our understanding of the persistence (or recovery) of meth-induced motivational and cognitive deficits.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0034299PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3315516PMC
November 2012

RGS4 overexpression in the rat dorsal striatum modulates mGluR5- and amphetamine-mediated behavior and signaling.

Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2012 Jun 23;221(4):621-35. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue, BSB 403, MSC 510, Charleston, SC 29425-5100, USA.

Rationale: Regulator of G-protein signaling 4 (RGS4) is a brain-enriched negative modulator of G-protein-coupled receptor signaling. Decreased availability of RGS4 in the frontal cortex and striatum has been described in animal models of schizophrenia and drug addiction. However, cellular and behavioral consequences of dysregulated RGS4-dependent receptor signaling in the brain remain poorly understood.

Objective: This study aims to investigate whether RGS4, through inhibiting the function of mGluR5 receptors in the dorsal striatum (dSTR), regulates cellular and behavioral responses to acute amphetamine.

Methods: After herpes simplex virus-RGS4 was infused into the dSTR, RGS4 overexpression as well as binding of recombinant RGS4 to mGluR5 was assessed. The effect of RGS4 overexpression on behavioral activity induced by the intrastriatal mGluR5 agonist, DHPG, or amphetamine was recorded. Activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and Akt (protein kinase B) was measured in the dSTR tissue at the end of each behavioral experiment.

Results: RGS4 overexpressed in the dSTR coimmunoprecipitated with mGluR5 receptors and suppressed both behavioral activity and phospho-ERK levels induced by DHPG. RGS4 overexpression or the mGluR5 antagonist, 3-((2-methyl-4-thiazolyl)ethynyl)pyridine (MTEP), attenuated amphetamine-induced phospho-ERK (but not phospho-Akt) levels. RGS4 suppressed amphetamine-induced vertical activity and augmented horizontal activity over 90 min. Similarly, MTEP augmented amphetamine-induced horizontal activity, but did not affect vertical activity.

Conclusions: The present data demonstrate that RGS4 in the dSTR attenuates amphetamine-induced ERK signaling and decreases the behavioral efficacy of acute amphetamine likely by limiting mGluR5 function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-011-2606-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4507824PMC
June 2012

Methamphetamine-induced changes in the object recognition memory circuit.

Neuropharmacology 2012 Feb 18;62(2):1119-26. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.

Chronic methamphetamine (meth) can lead to persisting cognitive deficits in human addicts and animal models of meth addiction. Here, we examined the impact of either contingent or non-contingent meth on memory performance using an object-in-place (OIP) task, which measures the ability to detect an object relative to its location and surrounding objects. Further, we quantified monoamine transporter levels and markers of neurotoxicity within the OIP circuitry and striatum. Male Long-Evans rats received an acute meth binge (4 × 4 mg/kg i.p., 2 h intervals) or self-administered meth (0.02 mg/infusion, i.v.; 7 days for 1 h/day, followed by 14 days for 6 h/day). Rats were tested for OIP recognition memory following one week of withdrawal. Subsequently, transporters for serotonin (SERT) and norepinephrine (NET) were quantified using Western blot in tissue obtained from the hippocampus, perirhinal cortex, and prefrontal cortex. In addition, striatal dopamine transporters, tyrosine hydroxylase, and glial fibrillary acidic protein were measured to assess potential neurotoxicity. Control (saline-treated) rats spent more time interacting with the objects in the changed locations. In contrast, contingent or non-contingent meth resulted in disrupted OIP performance as seen by similar amounts of time spent with all objects, regardless of location. While only acute meth binge produced signs of neurotoxicity, both meth regimens decreased SERT in the perirhinal cortex and hippocampus. Only meth self-administration resulted in a selective decrease in NET. Meth-induced changes in SERT function in the OIP circuitry may underlie memory deficits independently of overt neurotoxic effects. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder'.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.11.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3262904PMC
February 2012

Loss of object recognition memory produced by extended access to methamphetamine self-administration is reversed by positive allosteric modulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5.

Neuropsychopharmacology 2011 Mar 8;36(4):782-92. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.

Chronic methamphetamine (meth) abuse can lead to persisting cognitive deficits. Here, we utilized a long-access meth self-administration (SA) protocol to assess recognition memory and metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) expression, and the possible reversal of cognitive impairments with the mGluR5 allosteric modulator, 3-cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl) benzamide (CDPPB). Male, Long-Evans rats self-administered i.v. meth (0.02 mg/infusion) on an FR1 schedule of reinforcement or received yoked-saline infusions. After seven daily 1-h sessions, rats were switched to 6-h daily sessions for 14 days, and then underwent drug abstinence. Rats were tested for object recognition memory at 1 week after meth SA at 90 min and 24 h retention intervals. In a separate experiment, rats underwent the same protocol, but received either vehicle or CDPPB (30 mg/kg) after familiarization. Rats were killed on day 8 or 14 post-SA and brain tissue was obtained. Meth intake escalated over the extended access period. Additionally, meth-experienced rats showed deficits in both short- and long-term recognition memory, demonstrated by a lack of novel object exploration. The deficit at 90 min was reversed by CDPPB treatment. On day 8, meth intake during SA negatively correlated with mGluR expression in the perirhinal and prefrontal cortex, and mGluR5 receptor expression was decreased 14 days after discontinuation of meth. This effect was specific to mGluR5 levels in the perirhinal cortex, as no differences were identified in the hippocampus or in mGluR2/3 receptors. These results from a clinically-relevant animal model of addiction suggest that mGluR5 receptor modulation may be a potential treatment of cognitive dysfunction in meth addiction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npp.2010.212DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3052905PMC
March 2011

Suppression of activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated gene expression in the dorsal striatum attenuates extinction of cocaine-seeking.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2011 Jul 14;14(6):784-95. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

Department of Neurosciences and Neurobiology of Addiction Research Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

The caudate putamen (CPu) has been implicated in habit learning and neuroadaptive changes that mediate the compulsive nature of drug-seeking following chronic cocaine self-administration. Re-exposure to an operant chamber previously associated with cocaine, but not yoked-saline, increases activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated (Arc) gene mRNA expression within the dorsolateral (dl) CPu following prolonged abstinence. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that antisense gene knockdown of Arc within the dlCPu would alter cocaine-seeking. Initial studies showed that a single infusion of Arc antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) into the dlCPu significantly attenuated the induction of Arc mRNA and Arc protein by a single cocaine exposure (20 mg/kg i.p.) compared to scrambled-ODN-infused controls. In cocaine self-administering rats, infusion of Arc antisense ODN into the dlCPu 3 h prior to a test of context-driven drug-seeking significantly attenuated Arc protein induction, but failed to alter responding during testing, suggesting striatal Arc does not facilitate context-induced drug-seeking following prolonged abstinence. However, Arc antisense ODN infusion blunted the decrease in responding during subsequent 1-h extinction tests 24 and 48 h later. Following re-exposure to a cocaine-paired context, surface expression of the AMPA-type glutamate receptor GluR1 was significantly reduced whereas GluR2 was significantly increased in the dlCPu, independent of Arc antisense ODN infusion. Together, these findings indicate an important role for Arc in neuroadaptations within brain regions responsible for drug-seeking after abstinence and direct attention to changes occurring within striatal circuitry that are necessary to break down the habitual behaviour that leads to relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1461145710001173DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3120104PMC
July 2011

Extinction training after cocaine self-administration induces glutamatergic plasticity to inhibit cocaine seeking.

J Neurosci 2010 Jun;30(23):7984-92

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.

Learning to inhibit drug seeking can be an important strategy for inhibiting relapse, and this can be modeled by extinguishing drug seeking in response to a drug-paired context. Rats were either extinguished or withdrawn without extinction training (abstinence) from cocaine self-administration, and measurements of postsynaptic density proteins in the core and shell subcompartments of the nucleus accumbens were compared with yoked-saline controls. Only extinguished rats had elevations of PSD-95, Homer1b/c, and Narp in the postsynaptic density of the core, whereas no proteins measured were altered in the postsynaptic density of the shell in either extinguished or abstinent rats. Using a biotinylation strategy, it was found that surface expression of mGluR5 was reduced only in the core of extinguished animals. Although both extinguished and abstinent animals showed a reduction in long-term potentiation elicited in the core by stimulating prefrontal cortex, blunted long-term depression was observed only in extinguished rats. These data indicate that the elevation in Homer1b/c in the core may have sequestered mGluR5 away from the membrane surface and that the loss of surface mGluR5 inhibits long-term depression. Accordingly, when Homer1c was overexpressed in the core of cocaine-naive rats with an adenoassociated virus, long-term depression was inhibited. This mechanism may contribute to the inhibition of cocaine seeking by extinction training because overexpression of Homer1c in the core also inhibited cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking. These data identify a cellular mechanism that may contribute to extinction-induced inhibition of cocaine seeking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1244-10.2010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2893028PMC
June 2010

Extended methamphetamine self-administration in rats results in a selective reduction of dopamine transporter levels in the prefrontal cortex and dorsal striatum not accompanied by marked monoaminergic depletion.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2009 Nov 31;331(2):555-62. Epub 2009 Jul 31.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.

Chronic abuse of methamphetamine leads to cognitive dysfunction and high rates of relapse, paralleled by significant changes of brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmission. Previously, we found that rats with extended access to methamphetamine self-administration displayed enhanced methamphetamine-primed reinstatement of drug-seeking and cognitive deficits relative to limited access animals. The present study investigated whether extended access to methamphetamine self-administration produced abnormalities in dopamine and serotonin systems in rat forebrain. Rats self-administered methamphetamine (0.02-mg/i.v. infusion) during daily 1-h sessions for 7 to 10 days, followed by either short- (1-h) or long-access (6-h) self-administration for 12 to 14 days. Lever responding was extinguished for 2 weeks before either reinstatement testing or rapid decapitation and tissue dissection. Tissue levels of monoamine transporters and markers of methamphetamine-induced toxicity were analyzed in several forebrain areas. Long-access methamphetamine self-administration resulted in escalation of daily drug intake ( approximately 7 mg/kg/day) and enhanced drug-primed reinstatement compared with the short-access group. Furthermore, long-, but not short-access to self-administered methamphetamine resulted in persistent decreases in dopamine transporter (DAT) protein levels in the prefrontal cortex and dorsal striatum. In contrast, only minor alterations in the tissue levels of dopamine or its metabolites were found, and no changes in markers specific for dopamine terminals or glial cell activation were detected. Our findings suggest that persistent methamphetamine seeking is associated with region-selective changes in DAT levels without accompanying monoaminergic neurotoxicity. Greater understanding of the neuroadaptations underlying persistent methamphetamine seeking and cognitive deficits could yield targets suitable for future therapeutic interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.109.155770DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2775260PMC
November 2009

Regulation of psychostimulant-induced signaling and gene expression in the striatum.

J Neurochem 2008 Mar 21;104(6):1440-9. Epub 2008 Jan 21.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29407, USA.

Amphetamine (AMPH) and cocaine are indirect dopamine agonists that activate multiple signaling cascades in the striatum. Each cascade has a different subcellular location and duration of action that depend on the strength of the drug stimulus. In addition to activating D1 dopamine-Gs-coupled-protein kinase A signaling, acute psychostimulant administration activates extracellular-regulated kinase transiently in striatal cells; conversely, inhibition of extracellular-regulated kinase phosphorylation decreases the ability of psychostimulants to elevate locomotor behavior and opioid peptide gene expression. Moreover, a drug challenge in rats with a drug history augments and prolongs striatal extracellular-regulated kinase phosphorylation, possibly contributing to behavioral sensitization. In contrast, AMPH activates phosphoinositide-3 kinase substrates, like protein kinase B/Akt, only in the nuclei of striatal cells but this transient increase induced by AMPH is followed by a delayed decrease in protein kinase B/Akt phosphorylation whether or not the rats have a drug history, suggesting that the phosphoinositide-3 kinase pathway is not essential for AMPH-induced behavioral sensitization. Chronic AMPH or cocaine also alters the regulation of inhibitory G protein-coupled receptors in the striatum, as evident by a prolonged decrease in the level of regulator of G protein signaling 4 after non-contingent or contingent (self-administered) drug exposure. This decrease is exacerbated in behaviorally sensitized rats and reversed by re-exposure to a cocaine-paired environment. A decrease in regulator of G protein signaling 4 levels may weaken its interactions with metabotropic glutamate receptor 5, Galphaq, and phospholipase C beta that may enhance drug-induced signaling. Alteration of these protein-protein interactions suggests that the striatum responds to psychostimulants with a complex molecular repertoire that both modulates psychomotor effects and leads to long-term neuroadaptations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05240.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3120109PMC
March 2008

Regulator of G-protein signaling 4 interacts with metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 in rat striatum: relevance to amphetamine behavioral sensitization.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2007 Nov 10;323(2):650-7. Epub 2007 Aug 10.

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Ave., BSB 403, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.

Regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS) 4 negatively modulates signaling of several Galpha(q)-coupled receptors, including metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) subtype 5 in neuronal and non-neuronal cell lines. In the brain, both RGS4 and mGluR5 receptors are enriched in the striatum, and their functions have been linked to psychostimulant-induced behavior and synaptic plasticity. However, it is not known whether RGS4 and mGluR5 interactions occur in rat striatum and whether chronic amphetamine (AMPH) treatment produces changes in RGS4 levels that are correlated with mGluR5 receptor activity. Using coimmunoprecipitation, the present study demonstrated that endogenous RGS4 binds mGluR5 receptors as well as key mGluR5-associated proteins, Galpha(q/11), and phospholipase C-beta1 (PLCbeta1) in preparations from rat striatum. In the next experiment, rats were treated with AMPH (5 mg/kg i.p. daily) for 5 days followed by 3 weeks of abstinence. At this time point, animals pretreated with AMPH displayed sensitized behavioral responses to AMPH challenge and decreased RGS4 protein in dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens. Behavioral sensitization to AMPH was also accompanied by an increase in Galpha(q/11) and PLCbeta1 in dorsal striatum. In contrast, total levels of mGluR5 receptors in the striatum were not altered by any AMPH treatment. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that RGS4 protein is an integral part of the mGluR5 protein complex in the striatum. This study further suggests that AMPH-induced changes in mGluR5-associated protein levels (RGS4, Galpha(q/11), and PLCbeta1) may be related to altered coupling of striatal mGluR5 receptors in animals sensitized to AMPH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.107.128561DOI Listing
November 2007

Chronic cocaine reduces RGS4 mRNA in rat prefrontal cortex and dorsal striatum.

Neuroreport 2007 Aug;18(12):1261-5

Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.

Neuroadaptations affecting dopamine transmission within the prefrontal cortex and striatum are thought to underlie relapse to cocaine seeking after extended periods of abstinence. Regulator of G-protein signaling 4 (RGS4) is a forebrain-enriched protein known to be dynamically regulated by dopamine receptors in response to acute psychostimulant administration. In this report, chronic noncontingent (cocaine binge) or response-contingent (self-administration) delivery of cocaine followed by 2-3 weeks of abstinence resulted in a decrease of RGS4 mRNA in the dorsal striatum and prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, re-exposure to the cocaine-associated context after abstinence renewed the drug seeking and restored the levels of RGS4 mRNA to control values. Changes in RGS4 mRNA levels might signal abnormal receptor G-protein coupling that impacts cocaine seeking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNR.0b013e328240507aDOI Listing
August 2007