Cross-sensitization to morphine in cocaine-sensitized rats: Behavioral assessments correlate with enhanced responding of ventral pallidal neurons to morphine and glutamate, with diminished effects of GABA

J. McDaid, J. E. Dallimore, A. R. Mackie, A. L. Mickiewicz, T. Celeste Napier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Common neurobiological substrates contribute to the progressively increased behavioral effects (i.e., sensitization) that occur with repeated intermittent treatments of cocaine and morphine. Consequently, repeated exposure to cocaine can augment responding to morphine (termed cross-sensitization). Drug-induced sensitization in rats may model aspects of the dysfunction in motivation that are imposed by addiction. The ventral pallidum (VP) is involved in motivated behaviors and its function is altered by acute administration of cocaine and morphine, but the effects of repeated drug exposure remain unknown. Targeting this paucity, the present study evaluated electrophysiological changes in the VP of rats exposed to five once-daily cocaine treatments (15 mg/kg i.p.). This regimen also induced behavioral-sensitization that was expressed 3 days later when the rats received either an acute injection of cocaine (15 mg/kg i.p.) or morphine (10 mg/kg i.p.). VP neurons recorded in vivo 3 days after the repeated cocaine treatment regimen demonstrated increased excitatory responding to microiontophoretic applications of morphine and glutamate. The maximal effect (Emax) was increased without altering potency, suggesting a change in the functional efficacy of the respective receptor systems. This did not represent a potentiation in transmission in general, for the effects of GABA were diminished. The results provide the first evidence for cellular adaptation in the VP after a sensitizing drug treatment paradigm and reveal that cross-sensitization of drug-induced behaviors temporally correlates with changes in VP neuronal responding. These findings advance an emerging theme that alterations in the VP may contribute to the increased motivation for drug seeking that occurs in drug-withdrawn addicts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1193
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume313
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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