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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Repeated cocaine alters glutamate receptor subunit levels in the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area of rats that develop behavioral sensitization.

Increased glutamate transmission in the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area has been proposed as a mechanism underlying sensitized behavioral responses to repeated cocaine administration. GluR1, GluR2/3, and NMDAR1 subunits of glutamate receptors were quantified from immunoblots in these brain nuclei in rats at 24 h and 3 weeks after discontinuing 1 week of daily cocaine injections. Motor behavior was monitored after the first and last injections of daily cocaine, and those rats that showed >20% increase in motor activity after the last compared with the first injection were considered to have developed behavioral sensitization. The subjects that developed behavioral sensitization showed a significant increase in GluR1 levels in the nucleus accumbens at 3 weeks but not at 24 h of withdrawal. Conversely, sensitized animals showed a significant increase in NMDAR1 and GluR1 levels in the ventral tegmental area at 1 day but not at 3 weeks of withdrawal. None of these increases occurred in the rats exposed to daily cocaine that did not develop behavioral sensitization (<20% increase in motor activity), and no changes were measured in the level of GluR2/3 in any treatment group. The functional importance of the increases in glutamate receptor subunit levels is suggested by the fact that the changes were present only in rats that developed behavioral sensitization to repeated cocaine administration.[1]


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