Marinelli M, Piazza PV. Interaction between glucocorticoid hormones, stress and psychostimulant drugs. Eur J Neurosci 16: 387-394

INSERM U259, Université de Bordeaux 2, Rue Camille Saint-Saëns, 33077 Bordeaux Cedex, France.
European Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.18). 09/2002; 16(3):387-94. DOI: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.2002.02089.x
Source: PubMed


In this review we summarize data obtained from animal studies showing that glucocorticoid hormones have a facilitatory role on behavioural responses to psychostimulant drugs such as locomotor activity, self-administration and relapse. These behavioural effects of glucocorticoids involve an action on the meso-accumbens dopamine system, one of the major systems mediating the addictive properties of drugs of abuse. The effects of glucocorticoids in the nucleus accumbens are site-specific; these hormones modify dopamine transmission in only the shell of this nucleus without modifying it in the core. Studies with corticosteroid receptor antagonists suggest that the dopaminergic effects of these hormones depend mostly on glucocorticoid, not on mineralocorticoid receptors. These data suggest that an increase in glucocorticoid hormones, through an action on mesolimbic dopamine neurons, could increase vulnerability to drug abuse. We also discuss the implications of this finding with respect to the physiological role of glucocorticoids. It is proposed that an increase in glucocorticoids, by activating the reward pathway, could counteract the aversive effects of stress. During chronic stress, repeated increases in glucocorticoids and dopamine would result in sensitization of the reward system. This sensitized state, which can persist after the end of the stress, would render the subject more responsive to drugs of abuse and consequently more vulnerable to the development of addiction.

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    • "In a recent study, we observed that the activity of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adre nal axis, as reflected in an increased cortisol level, increased only in males in response to whole-body cooling [45]. There is evidence that glucocorticoids can partly influence central dopamine release within the brain [24] [35] [37] [41]. Thus, in contrast to the effects of heat [23], the increased central dopaminergic activity during cold exposure in males may increase their central motivation to perform exercise and may subsequently reduce fatigue during voluntary exercise [6] [17] [23] [29]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of cold stress on exercise performance and fatigue have been thoroughly investigated only in males, and thus the general understanding of these effects relates only to males. The aim of this study was to determine whether whole-body cooling has different effects on performance during fatiguing exercise in males and females. Thirty-two subjects (18 males and 14 females) were exposed to acute cold stress by intermittent immersion in 14°C water until their rectal temperature reached 35.5°C or for a maximum of 170 min. Thermal responses and motor performance were monitored before and after whole-body cooling. Whole-body cooling decreased rectal, muscle and mean skin temperatures in all subjects (p<0.05), and these changes did not differ between males and females. Cold stress decreased the fatigue index (FI) of a sustained 2-min maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) only in males (p<0.05). There were no sex differences in central and peripheral fatigability, or muscle electromyographic activity. This observed sex difference (i.e., body cooling-induced decrease in the FI of a sustained MVC in males but not in females) supports the view of sex effects on performance during fatiguing exercise after whole-body cooling. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Cryobiology 05/2015; 71(1). DOI:10.1016/j.cryobiol.2015.04.012 · 1.59 Impact Factor
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    • "Individual differences in HPA activation thus represent a factor determining vulnerability to addiction, possibly via processes involved in sensitization of the reward system. In preclinical studies, stress-induced HPA-axis activation followed by release of glucocorticoids resulted in increased alcohol consumption, possibly by enhancing mesolimbic DA activation (Marinelli and Piazza, 2002). Further, Piazza and le Moal (1996) showed that acute administration of corticosterone increases DA levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), but only in rats whose DA system was already activated, for example those with higher DA tone or during food intake. "
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    ABSTRACT: The differentiation between high and low cortisol responders to stress is of interest in determining the risk factors which may, along with genetic vulnerability, influence alcohol intake. Study 1: METHODS: Thirty-two healthy volunteers, family history positive to alcoholism (FHP, n=16) and family history negative (FHN, n=16) attended two laboratory sessions during which alcohol or placebo was offered. There were no differences in consumption of alcohol or placebo between FHP and FHN subjects. Study 2: METHODS: Fifty-eight healthy social drinkers, FHP (n=27) and FHN (n=31) attended two laboratory sessions. They were administered either alcohol or placebo in both sessions they attended. All subjects underwent either a stress task (the Trier Social Stress Test, TSST) or a stress-free period, at two separate occasions, before being offered beverage. After the salivary cortisol analysis, subjects in each group were divided into high (HCR) or low (LCR) cortisol responders. After stress, subjects who were FHP-HCR consumed more alcohol than FHN-HCR did. There were no differences in the placebo intake between FHP and FHN subjects regardless of their cortisol response. This result indicates that stress promotes alcohol consumption only in subjects with a family history of Type 1 alcoholism who show an increase in cortisol response to stress. This behaviour is similar to that previously observed in alcohol dependent individuals after stress and thus could represent an endophenotype posing a risk for future development of alcohol use disorders. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 12/2014; 130. DOI:10.1016/j.pbb.2014.12.008 · 2.78 Impact Factor
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    • "There is evidence that HPA-axis traits specifically undermine decision making. HPA disturbances predict addictive behavior (Koob & Kreek, 2007; Marinelli & Piazza, 2002; Putman, Antypa, Crysovergi, & van der Does, 2010; Sinha, 2008), and the relation between longterm HPA activity and pathological gambling (Wohl, Matheson, Young, & Anisman, 2008) may reflect altered punishment sensitivity. In nonclinical populations, the threat of financial loss (i.e., imminent poverty) chronically elevates cortisol (Haushofer, de Laat, & Chemin, 2012). "
    Psychological Science 09/2014; DOI:10.1177/0956797614546555 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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