Involvement of the Dorsal Striatum in Cue-Controlled Cocaine Seeking
Through association with the interoceptive effects of drugs of abuse, neutral environmental stimuli can gain motivational properties themselves, becoming conditioned reinforcers that can evoke craving and relapse to drug seeking. Nucleus accumbens dopamine (DA) neurotransmission plays an important role in the reinforcing effect of cocaine itself, but, unlike nucleus accumbens glutamate, it seems not to mediate the conditioned reinforcing properties of cocaine-paired stimuli. Dorsal striatal DA transmission, in contrast, has been shown to be enhanced during cocaine seeking under a second-order schedule of reinforcement, which depends on the conditioned reinforcing properties of cocaine-associated stimuli. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the role of DA and glutamate transmission in the dorsal striatum in cue-controlled cocaine seeking. Infusion of the DA receptor antagonist alpha-flupenthixol into the dorsal striatum decreased cocaine seeking under a second-order schedule of reinforcement. In addition, intradorsal striatal infusion of the AMPA/kainate (KA) receptor antagonist LY293558 (3SR, 4aRS, 6RS, 8aRS-6-[2-(iH-tetrazol-5-yl)ethyl]-1,2,3,4,4a,5,6,7,8,8a-decahydroiso-quinoline-3-carboxylic acid), but not the NMDA receptor antagonist AP-5, also decreased cue-controlled cocaine seeking. These data show that stimulation of DA and AMPA/KA receptors in the dorsal striatum is critical for well established drug seeking that depends on the reinforcing effects of cocaine-associated stimuli. In addition, given the importance of the dorsal striatum in stimulus-response habit learning, these data suggest that the habitual or compulsive quality of persistent drug seeking depends on dorsal striatal mechanisms.