Repeated amphetamine administration alters the expression of mRNA for AMPA receptor subunits in rat nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex

Wenxiao Lu, Huiyuan Chen, Chang Jiang Xue, Marina E. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent evidence suggests that behavioral sensitization to amphetamine is associated with alterations in excitatory amino acid (EAA) transmission in perikarya (ventral tegmental area) and terminal regions (nucleus accumbens [NAc]) of the mesoaccumbens dopamine system. The present study determined whether repeated amphetamine administration alters expression of mRNAs for AMPA receptor subunits. We studied the NAc, because it is the site of expression of amphetamine sensitization, and the prefrontal cortex (PFC), because it is the origin of EAA projections that regulate the mesoaccumbens dopamine system. Rats were treated for 5 days with 5 mg/kg/day amphetamine sulfate or vehicle (controls) and perfused 3 or 14 days after the last injection. We used a novel in situ hybridization method that allows quantification of mRNA levels [Lu et al. (1996) J. Neurosci. Methods, 65:69- 76]. Repeated amphetamine administration decreased levels of GluR1 and GluR2 but not GluR3 mRNAs in both core add shell subregions of the NAc at the 14 day withdrawal time; no changes were observed after 3 days of withdrawal. In contrast, levels of GluR1 mRNA in the PFC were increased at 3 but not 14 days of withdrawal, while GluR2 and 3 mRNAs were unchanged. Levels of GluR4 mRNA were very low in both NAc add PFC. Functional properties of heteromeric AMPA receptors are determined by subunit composition. Thus, the observed changes in mRNAs for AMPA receptor subunits may result in altered AMPA transmission in NAc and PFC. This, in turn, may influence the responsiveness of the mesoaccumbens DA system to psychomotor stimulants and potentially contribute to behavioral sensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalSynapse
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 1997

Keywords

  • behavioral sensitization
  • excitatory amino acids
  • in situ hybridization
  • nucleus accumbens
  • prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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