ABSTRACT: Cocaine modulates serum levels of progesterone in intact female and male rats, as well as in pregnant dams, and progesterone decreases or attenuates cocaine-induced behavioral and reward responses. It has been postulated that cocaine's modulation of serum progesterone levels may in turn alter progesterone receptor activity, thereby contributing to cocaine-induced alterations of neuronal functions and genomic regulations. To test this hypothesis, intact male rats received acute injections of saline or cocaine (15 or 30 mg/kg, dissolved in 0.9% saline, intraperitoneal). Progesterone serum levels, progesterone receptor (PR) protein levels, and PR-DNA binding complexes were measured in the striatum by radioimmunoassay, Western blot, and gel shift analyses, respectively. After injection of 15 mg/kg of cocaine, induction of progesterone serum levels was closely followed by an increase in receptor protein levels and DNA binding complexes. After injection of 30 mg/kg of cocaine, similar effects were observed along with an attenuation of receptor protein levels and DNA binding complexes at 60 min. Our results suggest that activation of progesterone receptors may be a mechanism by which cocaine mediates behavior through molecular alterations in the central nervous system.
Brain Research 01/2007; 1126(1):188-92. · 2.73 Impact Factor