Stress-induced cross-sensitization to amphetamine is related to changes in the dopaminergic system.
ABSTRACT Repeated stress engenders behavioral sensitization. The mesolimbic dopamine system is critically involved in drug-induced behavioral sensitization. In the present study we examined the differences between adolescent and adult rats in stress-induced behavioral sensitization to amphetamine and changes in dopamine (DA) and its metabolite levels in the mesolimbic system. Adolescent or adult rats were restrained for 2 h, once a day, for 7 days. Three days after the last exposure to stress, the animals were challenged with saline or amphetamine (1.0 mg/kg i.p.) and amphetamine-induced locomotion was recorded for 40 min. Immediately after the behavioral tests, rats were decapitated and the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), ventral tegmental area (VTA) and amygdala (AM) were removed to measure tissue levels of DA and its metabolites by HPLC. Exposure to repeated restraint stress promoted behavioral sensitization to amphetamine in both adult and adolescent rats. In adult rats, amphetamine administration increased DA levels in both the stress and control groups in the NAcc and VTA. In adolescent rats, amphetamine increased DA levels in the NAcc in rats exposed to stress. Furthermore, in the AM of adolescent rats in the control group, amphetamine increased the DA levels; however, amphetamine reduced this neurotransmitter in the rats that were exposed to stress. No alteration was observed in the dopamine metabolite levels. Therefore, stress promoted behavioral sensitization to amphetamine and this may be related to changes in DA levels in the mesolimbic system. These changes appear to be dependent on ontogeny.
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ABSTRACT: The notion that stress plays a role in the etiology of psychotic disorders, especially schizophrenia, is longstanding. However, it is only in recent years that the potential neural mechanisms mediating this effect have come into sharper focus. The introduction of more sophisticated models of the interplay between psychosocial factors and brain function has expanded our opportunities for conceptualizing more detailed psychobiological models of stress in psychosis. Further, scientific advances in our understanding of adolescent brain development have shed light on a pivotal question that has challenged researchers; namely, why the first episode of psychosis typically occurs in late adolescence/young adulthood. In this paper, we begin by reviewing the evidence supporting associations between psychosocial stress and psychosis in diagnosed patients as well as individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis. We then discuss biological stress systems and examine changes that precede and follow psychosis onset. Next, research findings on structural and functional brain characteristics associated with psychosis are presented; these findings suggest that normal adolescent neuromaturational processes may go awry, thereby setting the stage for the emergence of psychotic syndromes. Finally, a model of neural mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of psychosis is presented and directions for future research strategies are explored.Neuroscience 01/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor