Inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity with SL327 does not prevent acquisition, expression, and extinction of ethanol-seeking behavior in mice

Peter A. Groblewski, Frederick H. Franken, Christopher L. Cunningham

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Although extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity is essential for the acquisition of a variety of associative learning tasks, its involvement in the acquisition and extinction of ethanol (EtOH)-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) remains unknown. Therefore, in these experiments we examined the effects of the ERK-kinase (MEK)-inhibitor SL327 on acquisition and expression of EtOH-CPP as well as the dose- and time-dependent effects of SL327 on CPP extinction. The parametric findings of Experiment 1 showed that three 30-min (but not 15- or 5-min) non-reinforced trials were required to completely extinguish EtOH-CPP in male, DBA/2J mice. In Experiments 2 and 3, SL327 (30 and 50. mg/kg), administered 30 or 90. min prior to extinction trials, was unable to impair EtOH-CPP extinction. Experiment 4 showed that SL327 (50. mg/kg) had no effect on acquisition of EtOH-CPP or the development of EtOH-induced sensitization during conditioning. When administered prior to testing in Experiments 5 and 6, SL327 did not alter expression of EtOH-CPP but did reduce test activity. Importantly, SL327 significantly reduced pERK protein levels when assessed in the dorsal striatum and motor cortex (Experiment 7). Together, these data suggest that EtOH-related learning and EtOH reward in mice, as assessed with CPP, are not impaired by the systemically administered MEK-inhibitor SL327.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-407
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011



  • Conditioned place preference
  • DBA/2J
  • ERK
  • Ethanol
  • Extinction
  • SL327

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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