Behavioral expression of cocaine sensitization in rats is accompanied by a distinct pattern of modifications in the PKA/DARPP-32 signaling pathway

Department of Neuroscience, Pharmacology Unit, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.
Journal of Neurochemistry (Impact Factor: 4.28). 12/2007; 103(3):1168-83. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2007.04818.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Repeated cocaine administration induces behavioral sensitization and modifications in the phosphorylation pattern of dopamine and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein of Mr 32,000 (DARPP-32), characterized by a tonic increase in the Thr75 phosphorylated form, and a decrease in the Thr34 phosphorylated form. This study further investigated the correlations between cocaine sensitization and modifications in the DARPP-32 phosphorylation pattern, cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) activity, and mGluR5 tone in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. Behavioral sensitization and modifications in these neurochemical markers followed a similar temporal pattern. Moreover, in sensitized rats acute cocaine administration modified phosphorylation levels of Thr75- and Thr34-DARPP-32, GluR1, and NR1 subunits in the nucleus accumbens only at a dose double the efficacious dose in control rats. These results suggest that the high levels of phospho-Thr75 DARPP-32 maintain PKA in a prevalent inhibited state. Furthermore, in sensitized rats the acute administration of 6-methyl-2-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine, a mGluR5 antagonist, reinstated the phosphorylation levels of Thr75- and Thr34-DARPP-32, GluR1, and NR1 to control values, and a subsequent cocaine challenge did not elicit a sensitized response. These data suggest that a tonic increase in mGluR5 transmission in cocaine-sensitized rats sustains both the increase in phospho-Thr75 DARPP-32 levels and the expression of behavioral sensitization.

Download full-text


Available from: Alessandro Tagliamonte, Mar 04, 2015
8 Reads
  • Source
    • "After the habituation period, the rats received saline or cocaine and were immediately returned to the locomotor activity cage. Based on the protocol of Scheggi et al. (22), the locomotor activity of rats was monitored for 30 min, and locomotion counts were registered every 10 min. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cocaine sensitization is a marker for some facets of addiction, is greater in female rats, and may be influenced by their sex hormones. We compared the modulatory effects of endogenous or exogenous estradiol and progesterone on cocaine-induced behavioral sensitization in 106 female rats. Ovariectomized female rats received progesterone (0.5 mg/mL), estradiol (0.05 mg/mL), progesterone plus estradiol, or the oil vehicle. Sham-operated control females received oil. Control and acute subgroups received injections of saline, while the repeated group received cocaine (15 mg/kg, ip) for 8 days. After 10 days, the acute and repeated groups received a challenge dose of cocaine, after which locomotion and stereotypy were monitored. The estrous cycle phase was evaluated and blood was collected to verify hormone levels. Repeated cocaine treatment induced overall behavioral sensitization in female rats, with increased locomotion and stereotypies. In detailed analysis, ovariectomized rats showed no locomotor sensitization; however, the sensitization of stereotypies was maintained. Only females with endogenous estradiol and progesterone demonstrated increased locomotor activity after cocaine challenge. Estradiol replacement enhanced stereotyped behaviors after repeated cocaine administration. Cocaine sensitization of stereotyped behaviors in female rats was reduced after progesterone replacement, either alone or concomitant with estradiol. The behavioral responses (locomotion and stereotypy) to cocaine were affected differently, depending on whether the female hormones were of an endogenous or exogenous origin. Therefore, hormonal cycling appears to be an important factor in the sensitization of females. Although estradiol increases the risk of cocaine sensitization, progesterone warrants further study as a pharmacological treatment in the prevention of psychostimulant abuse.
    Brazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas medicas e biologicas / Sociedade Brasileira de Biofisica ... [et al.] 06/2014; 47(6):505-514. DOI:10.1590/1414-431X20143627 · 1.01 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Tissues were flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored at −80 • C until assayed. Immunoblotting was performed as previously described (Scheggi et al., 2007; Danielli et al., "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) can be applied to study associative learning and its relevant underpinning molecular mechanisms in discrete brain regions. The present study examined, by immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry, the effects of acquisition and expression of lithium-induced CTA on activated Extracellular signal Regulated Kinase (p-ERK) in the prefrontal cortex (PFCx) and nucleus accumbens (Acb) of male Sprague-Dawley rats. The study also examined, by immunoblotting, whether acquisition and expression of lithium-induced CTA resulted in modified levels of phosphorylation of glutamate receptor subunits (NR1 and GluR1) and Thr(34)- and Thr(75-Dopamine-and-cAMP-Regulated) PhosphoProtein (DARPP-32). CTA acquisition was associated with an increase of p-ERK-positive neurons and phosphorylated NR1 receptor subunit (p-NR1) in the PFCx, whereas p-GluR1, p-Thr(34)- and p-Thr(75)-DARPP-32 levels were not changed in this brain region. CTA expression increased the number of p-ERK-positive neurons in the shell (AcbSh) and core (AcbC) but left unmodified p-NR1, p-GluR1, p-Thr(34)- and p-Thr(75-DARPP-32) levels. Furthermore, post-embedding immunogold quantitative analysis in AcbSh revealed that CTA expression significantly increased nuclear p-ERK immunostaining as well as p-ERK-labeled axo-spinous contacts. Overall, these results indicate that ERK and NR1, but not GluR1 and DARPP-32, are differentially phosphorylated as a consequence of acquisition and expression of aversive associative learning. Moreover, these results confirm that CTA represents an useful approach to study the molecular basis of associative learning in rats and suggest the involvement of ERK cascade in learning-associated synaptic plasticity.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 05/2014; 8:153. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00153 · 3.27 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Imi treatment would restore to control values the DARPP-32 phosphorylation pattern and Cdk5 levels in the NAcS and mPFC that are modified in CS rats (Scheggi et al. 2004, 2007). Moreover, the possible effect of Y-maze exposure on these variables was also examined (rats from expt 2B). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Anhedonia is a core symptom of depression that also characterizes substance abuse-related mood disorders, in particular those secondary to stimulant abuse. This study investigated the long-lasting condition of cocaine sensitization as an inducing condition for anhedonia in rats. Cortical-mesolimbic dopamine plays a central role in assessing the incentive value of a stimulus and an increased dopamine output in these areas after a novel palatable meal seems to correlate with the ability to acquire an instrumental behaviour aimed at earning it again. This dopaminergic response is associated with consistent modifications in the phosphorylation pattern of some cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) substrates and it is mediated by dopamine D1 receptor stimulation. Thus, since behavioural cocaine sensitization is characterized by tonically increased levels of phospho-Thr75 DARPP-32 that is a potent PKA inhibitor, we hypothesized that cocaine-sensitized rats might reveal deficits in palatable food responding. Indeed, non-food-deprived cocaine-sensitized rats showed no interest in palatable food, no dopaminergic response after a palatable meal in terms of increased dopamine output and DARPP-32 phosphorylation changes, and no ability to acquire a palatable food-sustained instrumental behaviour. Repeated administration of an established antidepressant compound, imipramine, corrected these deficits and reinstated the dopaminergic response in the cortico-mesolimbic areas to control values. Thus, the behavioural modifications observed in cocaine-sensitized rats satisfy some requirements for an experimental model of anhedonia since they are induced by repeated cocaine administration (aetiological validity), they mimic an anhedonia-like symptom (construct validity), and are reversed by the administration of imipramine (predictive validity).
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 04/2011; 14(3):333-46. DOI:10.1017/S1461145710000532 · 4.01 Impact Factor
Show more