Recovery of dopaminergic system after cocaine exposure and impact of a long-acting cocaine hydrolase

Jing Deng, Ting Zhang, Xirong Zheng, Linyue Shang, Chang Guo Zhan, Fang Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Dysregulation of dopamine transporters (DAT) within the dopaminergic system is an important biomarker of cocaine exposure. Depending on cocaine amount in-taken, one-time exposure in rats could lead to most (>95% of total) of DAT translocating to plasma membrane of the dopaminergic neurons compared to normal DAT distribution (~5.7% on the plasma membrane). Without further cocaine exposure, the time course of striatal DAT distribution, in terms of intracellular and plasma membrane fractions of DAT, represents a recovery process of the dopaminergic system. In this study, we demonstrated that after an acute cocaine exposure of 20 mg/kg (i.p.), the initial recovery process from days 1 to 15 in rats was relatively faster (from >95% on day 1 to ~35.4% on day 15). However, complete recovery of the striatal DAT distribution may take about 60 days. In another situation, with repeated cocaine exposures for once every other day for a total of 17 doses of 20 mg/kg cocaine (i.p.) from days 0 to 32, the complete recovery of striatal DAT distribution may take an even longer time (about 90 days), which represents a consequence of chronic cocaine use. Further, we demonstrated that a highly efficient Fc-fused cocaine hydrolase, CocH5-Fc(M6), effectively blocked cocaine-induced hyperactivity and DAT trafficking with repeated cocaine exposures by maintaining a plasma CocH5-Fc(M6) concentration ≥58.7 ± 2.9 nM in rats. The cocaine hydrolase protected dopaminergic system and helped the cocaine-altered DAT distribution to recover by preventing the dopaminergic system from further damage by cocaine.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13179
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH grants U01 DA051079, U18 DA052319, UH2/UH3 DA041115, R01 DA035552, R01 DA032910 and R01 DA013930).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Society for the Study of Addiction.


  • cocaine
  • cocaine hydrolase
  • dopamine transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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