Activation of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors in the nucleus accumbens attenuates cocaine seeking in rats

Nicole S. Hernandez, Bernadette O'Donovan, Pavel I. Ortinski, Heath D. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent evidence indicates that activation of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptors reduces cocaine-mediated behaviors and cocaine-evoked dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). However, no studies have examined the role of NAc GLP-1 receptors in the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior, an animal model of relapse. Here, we show that systemic infusion of a behaviorally relevant dose of the GLP-1 receptor agonist exendin-4 penetrated the brain and localized with neurons and astrocytes in the NAc. Administration of exendin-4 directly into the NAc core and shell subregions significantly attenuated cocaine priming-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior. These effects were not due to deficits in operant responding or suppression of locomotor activity as intra-accumbal exendin-4 administration had no effect on sucrose-seeking behavior. To determine the effects of GLP-1 receptor activation on neuronal excitability, exendin-4 was bath applied to ex vivo NAc slices from cocaine-experienced and saline-experienced rats following extinction of cocaine-taking behavior. Exendin-4 increased the frequency of action potential firing of NAc core and shell medium spiny neurons in cocaine-experienced rats while no effect was observed in saline controls. In contrast, exendin-4 did not affect the frequency or amplitude of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents or alter the paired-pulse ratios of evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents. These effects were not associated with altered expression of GLP-1 receptors in the NAc following cocaine self-administration. Taken together, these findings indicate that increased activation of GLP-1 receptors in the NAc during cocaine abstinence increases intrinsic, but not synaptic, excitability of medium spiny neurons and is sufficient to reduce cocaine-seeking behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-181
Number of pages12
JournalAddiction Biology
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the following grants from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Absue: R01 DA037897 (H.D.S.) and K01 DA031747 and R01 DA041513 (P.I.O). N.S.H. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellow. The authors would also like to thank Kelsey Ige, David Reiner, John Maurer and Chris Turner for their technical assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Society for the Study of Addiction

Keywords

  • glucagon-like peptide-1
  • nucleus accumbens
  • relapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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