Behavioral sensitization to amphetamine is not accompanied by changes in glutamate receptor surface expression in the rat nucleus accumbens

Christopher L. Nelson, Michael Milovanovic, Joseph B. Wetter, Kerstin A. Ford, Marina E. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


We examined whether behavioral sensitization to amphetamine is associated with redistribution of glutamate receptors (GluR) in the rat nucleus accumbens (NAc) or dorsolateral striatum (DLSTR). Following repeated amphetamine treatment and 21 days of withdrawal, surface and intracellular levels of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA) or NMDA receptor subunits were determined using a protein cross-linking assay. In contrast to our previous results in cocaine-sensitized rats, we did not observe redistribution of GluR1 or GluR2 to the cell surface in the NAc after amphetamine withdrawal, although a small increase in total GluR1 was found in the shell subregion. Nor did we observe activation of signaling pathways associated with cocaine-induced AMPA receptor trafficking or changes in NMDA receptor subunits. No significant changes were observed in the DLSTR. We also investigated the effect of administering a challenge injection of amphetamine to amphetamine-sensitized rats 24 h prior to biochemical analysis based on prior studies showing that cocaine challenge decreases AMPA receptor surface expression in the NAc of cocaine-sensitized rats. GluR1 and GluR2 were not significantly altered in either NAc or DLSTR, although a modest effect on GluR3 cannot be ruled out. Our results suggest that glutamate transmission in the NAc is dramatically different in rats sensitized to amphetamine versus cocaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009



  • Amphetamine
  • Drug abuse
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Sensitization
  • α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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