Critical role for glucocorticoid receptors in stress- and ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization

A. J. Roberts, C. N. Lessov, Tamara Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Locomotor sensitization, the augmentation of the locomotor-activating effects of stimuli with repeated exposure, is being evaluated as a partial model for several phenomena including drug addiction. Alteration of dopaminergic systems has been found in sensitized animals and dopamine neurotransmission appears to be crucial for the expression of sensitized behaviors. However, stress hormones, which are released after exposure to many of the stimuli that produce sensitization, may also be involved in the development of this phenomenon. Corticosterone appears to be important in the development of amphetamine sensitization and glucocorticoid receptors (GR) have been hypothesized to mediate this effect. The purpose of these experiments was first, to determine whether repeated restraint stress sensitizes DBA/2J mice to the activating effect of ethanol (EtOH), and second, to explore the role of GR in stress- and EtOH-induced sensitization with the GR antagonist, RU 38486. This antagonist was administered before restraint or i.p. EtOH (1.5 g/kg) on each of 10 consecutive days of pretreatment. In addition, plasma corticosterone levels were determined at various points throughout the pretreatment period and on test days. The results demonstrated that 10 consecutive days of 2-hr restraint sensitized mice to EtOH's locomotor-stimulating effect. Both stress- and EtOH-induced sensitization were attenuated by administration of RU 38486 during the pretreatment phase. Plasma corticosterone levels on the test days did not relate consistently with the degree of behavioral sensitization observed; therefore, it appears that changes in corticosteroid receptor systems and not absolute levels of corticosterone are important in the development of sensitization. These results support a critical role for GR in the development of at least some types of behavioral sensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-797
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume275
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

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Glucocorticoid Receptors
Corticosterone
Ethanol
Mifepristone
Inbred DBA Mouse
Steroid Receptors
Synaptic Transmission
Substance-Related Disorders
Dopamine
Hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Critical role for glucocorticoid receptors in stress- and ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization. / Roberts, A. J.; Lessov, C. N.; Phillips, Tamara.

In: Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Vol. 275, No. 2, 1995, p. 790-797.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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