Baclofen attenuates conditioned locomotion to cues associated with cocaine administration and stabilizes extracellular glutamate levels in rat nucleus accumbens

G. Hotsenpiller, M. E. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have used cocaine-conditioned locomotion in rats as an animal model for cocaine-conditioned responses that contribute to drug craving and relapse in human addicts. The purpose of the present study was to examine the ability of the GABAB agonist, baclofen, to attenuate such associative responses. First, experiments were conducted to identify a dose range of baclofen that did not impede exploratory or spontaneous behavior. This dose range was used during testing for conditioned locomotion specific to a flashing light and metronome, which were previously associated with administration of cocaine (PAIRED group) or saline (UNPAIRED group). At 2.0 mg/kg, baclofen attenuated conditioned locomotion in PAIRED subjects to the level of UNPAIRED subjects receiving saline or 2.0 mg/kg baclofen. Considering the importance of glutamate transmission in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) during associative responses to reward-related stimuli, the effect of baclofen on extracellular levels of glutamate in the NAc was tested with microdialysis. Baclofen (2.0 mg/kg) did not alter basal glutamate levels. However, baclofen pretreatment prevented the predatory odor, 2,5-dihydro-2,4,5-trimethylthiazoline, from increasing glutamate levels. This is the first report of baclofen modulating extracellular levels of glutamate in the NAc. Baclofen may prove to have general utility for suppressing stimulus-evoked increases in NAc glutamate levels. This could explain its ability to prevent cocaine-conditioned responses. In summary, our results suggest that enhancing GABAB transmission inhibits cocaine-conditioned responses, possibly by suppressing glutamate transmission in the NAc. A better understanding of interactions between GABA and glutamate transmission in the NAc may lead to the development of pharmacotherapies for cocaine craving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages12
JournalNeuroscience
Volume118
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 25 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Conditioning
  • Fox odor
  • GABA receptor
  • Microdialysis
  • Pavlovian
  • TMT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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