Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are known to play a role in several aspects of cocaine addiction. Recently, systemic administration of the nicotinic receptor antagonist mecamylamine was shown to block the induction of long-term locomotor sensitization to cocaine. Behavioral sensitization being a model of long-term neuroadaptations to chronic cocaine exposure, the goal of the current study was to identify the anatomical localization, as well as the nature, of the nicotinic receptors involved. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were stereotaxically implanted with bilateral cannula into either the ventral tegmental area (VTA) or the nucleus accumbens (Nacc). On each of the six consecutive days, rats were microinjected bilaterally with the selective nicotinic antagonists dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHβE), methyllycaconitine (MLA) or saline, followed by an intra-peritoneal injection of cocaine (15 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline. Following a 2-week withdrawal period, rats received a final injection of cocaine in the absence of nicotinic antagonist to test for sensitization. When microinjected into the VTA, DHβE, but not MLA, prevented the induction of behavioral sensitization to cocaine. In contrast, behavioral sensitization was present in rats receiving DHβE microinjections into the Nacc. Neither antagonist, whether injected into the VTA or the Nacc had any significant effect on the acute locomotor response to cocaine. Given the subtype selectivity of the nicotinic antagonists employed, heteromeric β2-containing (β2*) nAChRs, but not homomeric α7* nAChRs, in the VTA may be involved in the neuroadaptive changes underlying cocaine sensitization.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Behavioural Brain Research|
|State||Published - Mar 15 2006|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants DA05312, DA17548 and grants from Philip Morris USA Inc. and Philip Morris International and the Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale.
- Behavioral sensitization
- Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
- Nucleus accumbens
- Ventral tegmental area
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience