- Expression of amphetamine sensitization is associated with recruitment of a reactive neuronal population in the nucleus accumbens core
- Volume | Issue number
- 198 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Rationale: Repeated exposure to psychostimulant drugs causes a long-lasting increase in the psychomotor and reinforcing effects of these drugs and an array of neuroadaptations. One such alteration is a hypersensitivity of striatal activity such that a low dose of amphetamine in sensitized animals produces dorsal striatal activation patterns similar to acute treatment with a high dose of amphetamine.
Objectives: To extend previous findings of striatal hypersensitivity with behavioral observations and with cellular activity in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex in sensitized animals.
Materials and methods: Rats treated acutely with 0, 1, 2.5, or 5 mg/kg i.p. amphetamine and sensitized rats challenged with 1 mg/kg i.p. amphetamine were scored for stereotypy, rearing, and grooming, and locomotor activity recorded. c-fos positive nuclei were quantified in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex after expression of sensitization with 1 mg/kg i.p. amphetamine.
Results: Intense stereotypy was seen in animals treated acutely with 5 mg/kg amphetamine, but not in the sensitized group treated with 1 mg/kg amphetamine. The c-fos response to amphetamine in the accumbens core was augmented in amphetamine-pretreated animals with a shift in the distribution of optical density, while no effect of sensitization was seen in the nucleus accumbens shell or prefrontal cortex.
Conclusions A lack of stereotypy in the sensitized group indicates a dissociation of behavioral responses to amphetamine and striatal immediate-early gene activation patterns. The increase in c-fos positive nuclei and shift in the distribution of optical density observed in the nucleus accumbens core suggests recruitment of a new population of neurons during expression of sensitization.
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