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  • 1.
    Barbier, Estelle
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Chanthongdee, Kanat
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Mahidol Univ, Thailand.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Sichuan Prov Peoples Hosp, Peoples R China.
    Adermark, Louise
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Downregulation of Synaptotagmin 1 in the Prelimbic Cortex Drives Alcohol-Associated Behaviors in Rats2021In: Biological Psychiatry, ISSN 0006-3223, E-ISSN 1873-2402, Vol. 89, no 4, p. 398-406Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: Alcohol addiction is characterized by persistent neuroadaptations in brain structures involved in motivation, emotion, and decision making, including the medial prefrontal cortex, the nucleus accumbens, and the amygdala. We previously reported that induction of alcohol dependence was associated with long-term changes in the expression of genes involved in neurotransmitter release. Specifically, Syt1, which plays a key role in neurotransmitter release and neuronal functions, was downregulated. Here, we therefore examined the role of Syt1 in alcohol-associated behaviors in rats. METHODS: We evaluated the effect of Syt1 downregulation using an adeno-associated virus (AAV) containing a short hairpin RNA against Syt1. Cre-dependent Syt1 was also used in combination with an rAAV2 retro-Cre virus to assess circuit-specific effects of Syt1 knockdown (KD). RESULTS: Alcohol-induced downregulation of Syt1 is specific to the prelimbic cortex (PL), and KD of Syt1 in the PL resulted in escalated alcohol consumption, increased motivation to consume alcohol, and increased alcohol drinking despite negative consequences ("compulsivity"). Syt1 KD in the PL altered the excitation/inhibition balance in the basolateral amygdala, while the nucleus accumbens core was unaffected. Accordingly, a projection-specific Syt1 KD in the PL-basolateral amygdala projection was sufficient to increase compulsive alcohol drinking, while a KD of Syt1 restricted to PL-nucleus accumbens core projecting neurons had no effect on tested alcohol-related behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these data suggest that dysregulation of Syt1 is an important mechanism in long-term neuroadaptations observed after a history of alcohol dependence, and that Syt1 regulates alcohol-related behaviors in part by affecting a PL-basolateral amygdala brain circuit.

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  • 2.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Chanthongdee, Kanat
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Mahidol Univ, Thailand.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Gobbo, Francesco
    Univ Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Coppola, Andrea
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Asratian, Anna
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Toivainen, Sanne
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Elect Sci & Technol China, Peoples R China.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Stress-induced escalation of alcohol self-administration, anxiety-like behavior, and elevated amygdala Avp expression in a susceptible subpopulation of rats2021In: Addiction Biology, ISSN 1355-6215, E-ISSN 1369-1600, Vol. 26, no 5, article id e13009Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Comorbidity between alcohol use and anxiety disorders is associated with more severe symptoms and poorer treatment outcomes than either of the conditions alone. There is a well-known link between stress and the development of these disorders, with post-traumatic stress disorder as a prototypic example. Post-traumatic stress disorder can arise as a consequence of experiencing traumatic events firsthand and also after witnessing them. Here, we used a model of social defeat and witness stress in rats, to study shared mechanisms of stress-induced anxiety-like behavior and escalated alcohol self-administration. Similar to what is observed clinically, we found considerable individual differences in susceptibility and resilience to the stress. Both among defeated and witness rats, we found a subpopulation in which exposure was followed by emergence of increased anxiety-like behavior and escalation of alcohol self-administration. We then profiled gene expression in tissue from the amygdala, a key brain region in the regulation of stress, alcohol use, and anxiety disorders. When comparing "comorbid" and resilient socially defeated rats, we identified a strong upregulation of vasopressin and oxytocin, and this correlated positively with the magnitude of the alcohol self-administration and anxiety-like behavior. A similar trend was observed in comorbid witness rats. Together, our findings provide novel insights into molecular mechanisms underpinning the comorbidity of escalated alcohol self-administration and anxiety-like behavior.

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  • 3.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Chanthongdee, Kanat
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Mahidol Univ, Thailand.
    Petrella, Michele
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Söderholm, Simon
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Molecular Medicine and Virology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Coppola, Andrea
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Wiskerke, Joost
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Szczot, Ilona
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Adermark, Louise
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Cantù, Claudio
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Molecular Medicine and Virology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    An epigenetic mechanism for over-consolidation of fear memories2022In: Molecular Psychiatry, ISSN 1359-4184, E-ISSN 1476-5578, Vol. 27, no 12, p. 4893-4904Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Excessive fear is a hallmark of anxiety disorders, a major cause of disease burden worldwide. Substantial evidence supports a role of prefrontal cortex-amygdala circuits in the regulation of fear and anxiety, but the molecular mechanisms that regulate their activity remain poorly understood. Here, we show that downregulation of the histone methyltransferase PRDM2 in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex enhances fear expression by modulating fear memory consolidation. We further show that Prdm2 knock-down (KD) in neurons that project from the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex to the basolateral amygdala (dmPFC-BLA) promotes increased fear expression. Prdm2 KD in the dmPFC-BLA circuit also resulted in increased expression of genes involved in synaptogenesis, suggesting that Prdm2 KD modulates consolidation of conditioned fear by modifying synaptic strength at dmPFC-BLA projection targets. Consistent with an enhanced synaptic efficacy, we found that dmPFC Prdm2 KD increased glutamatergic release probability in the BLA and increased the activity of BLA neurons in response to fear-associated cues. Together, our findings provide a new molecular mechanism for excessive fear responses, wherein PRDM2 modulates the dmPFC -BLA circuit through specific transcriptomic changes.

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  • 4.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Sichuan Prov Peoples Hosp, Peoples R China.
    Paetz, Marvin
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Nordeman, Anton
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Toivainen, Sanne
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Hansson, Anita C.
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Nicotine increases alcohol self-administration in male rats via a mu-opioid mechanism within the mesolimbic pathway2020In: British Journal of Pharmacology, ISSN 0007-1188, E-ISSN 1476-5381, Vol. 177, no 19, p. 4516-4531Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and Purpose: Alcohol and nicotine use disorders are commonly comorbid. Both alcohol and nicotine can activate opioid systems in reward-related brain regions, leading to adaptive changes in opioid signalling upon chronic exposure. The potential role of these adaptations for comorbidity is presently unknown. Here, we examined the contribution of mu and kappa-opioid receptors to nicotine-induced escalation of alcohol self-administration in rats. Experimental Approach: Chronic nicotine was tested on alcohol self-administration and motivation to obtain alcohol. We then tested the effect of the kappa antagonist CERC-501 and the preferential mu receptor antagonist naltrexone on basal and nicotine-escalated alcohol self-administration. To probe mu or kappa receptor adaptations, receptor binding and G-protein coupling assays were performed in reward-related brain regions. Finally, dopaminergic activity in response to alcohol was examined, using phosphorylation of DARPP-32 in nucleus accumbens as a biomarker. Key Results: Nicotine robustly induced escalation of alcohol self-administration and motivation to obtain alcohol. This was blocked by naltrexone but not by CERC-501. Escalation of alcohol self-administration was associated with decreased DAMGO-stimulated mu receptor signalling in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and decreased pDARPP-32 in the nucleus accumbens shell in response to alcohol. Conclusions and Implications: Collectively, these results suggest that nicotine contributes to escalate alcohol self-administration through a dysregulation of mu receptor activity in the VTA. These data imply that targeting mu rather than kappa receptors may be the preferred pharmacotherapeutic approach for the treatment of alcohol use disorder when nicotine use contributes to alcohol consumption.

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  • 5.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Toivainen Eloff, Sanne
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Wiskerke, Joost
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Coppola, Andrea
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Petrella, Michele
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping. Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV).
    Activation of GABA(B) receptors in central amygdala attenuates activity of PKC delta plus neurons and suppresses punishment-resistant alcohol self-administration in rats2023In: Neuropsychopharmacology, ISSN 0893-133X, E-ISSN 1740-634X, Vol. 48, p. 1386-1395Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol use despite negative consequences is a core phenomenon of alcohol addiction. We recently used alcohol self-administration that is resistant to footshock punishment as a model of this behavior, and found that activity of PKC delta + GABAergic neurons in the central amygdala (CeA) is a determinant of individual susceptibility for punishment resistance. In the present study, we examined whether activation of GABA(B) receptors in CeA can attenuate the activity of PKC delta + neurons in this region, and whether this will result in suppression of punishment- resistant alcohol self-administration in the minority of rats that show this behavior. Systemic administration of the clinically approved GABA(B) agonist baclofen (1 and 3 mg/kg) dose- dependently reduced punishment-resistant alcohol self-administration. Bilateral microinjections of baclofen into CeA (64 ng in 0.3 mu l/side) reduced the activity of PKC delta + neurons, as measured by Fos expression. This manipulation also selectively suppressed punished alcohol self-administration in punishment-resistant rats. Expression analysis indicated that virtually all CeA PKC delta + neurons express the GABA(B) receptor. Using in vitro electrophysiology, we found that baclofen induced hyperpolarization of CeA neurons, reducing their firing rate in response to depolarizing current injections. Together, our findings provide a potential mechanism that contributes to the clinical efficacy of baclofen in alcohol addiction. Therapeutic use of baclofen itself is limited by problems of tolerance and need for dose escalation. Our findings support a mechanistic rationale for developing novel, improved alcohol addiction medications that target GABA(B) receptors, and that lack these limitations, such as e.g., GABA(B) positive allosteric modulators (PAM:s).

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  • 6.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Elect Sci & Technol China, Peoples R China.
    Toivainen, Sanne
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Nordeman, Anton
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Gobbo, Francesco
    Univ Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Venniro, Marco
    Univ Maryland, MD 21201 USA.
    Shaham, Yavin
    Natl Inst Drug Abuse NIDA, MD 21224 USA.
    Messing, Robert O.
    Univ Texas Austin, TX 78712 USA; Univ Texas Austin, TX 78712 USA; Univ Texas Austin, TX 78712 USA.
    Visser, Esther
    Vrije Univ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
    van den Oever, Michel C.
    Vrije Univ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    A neural substrate of compulsive alcohol use2021In: Science Advances, E-ISSN 2375-2548, Vol. 7, no 34, article id eabg9045Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol intake remains controlled in a majority of users but becomes "compulsive," i.e., continues despite adverse consequences, in a minority who develop alcohol addiction. Here, using a footshock-punished alcohol self-administration procedure, we screened a large population of outbred rats to identify those showing compulsivity operationalized as punishment-resistant self-administration. Using unsupervised clustering, we found that this behavior emerged as a stable trait in a subpopulation of rats and was associated with activity of a brain network that included central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). Activity of PKC delta(+) inhibitory neurons in the lateral subdivision of CeA (CeL) accounted for similar to 75% of variance in punishment-resistant alcohol taking. Activity-dependent tagging, followed by chemogenetic inhibition of neurons activated during punishment-resistant self-administration, suppressed alcohol taking, as did a virally mediated shRNA knockdown of PKC delta in CeA. These findings identify a previously unknown mechanism for a core element of alcohol addiction and point to a novel candidate therapeutic target.

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  • 7.
    Petrella, Michele
    et al.
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Borruto, Anna Maria
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Curti, Lorenzo
    Univ Florence, Italy.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Ilari, Alice
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Weiss, Friedbert
    Scripps Res Inst, CA USA.
    Mannaioni, Guido
    Univ Florence, Italy.
    Masi, Alessio
    Univ Florence, Italy.
    Ciccocioppo, Roberto
    Univ Camerino, Italy; Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Pharmacological blockage of NOP receptors decreases ventral tegmental area dopamine neuronal activity through GABAB receptor-mediated mechanism2024In: Neuropharmacology, ISSN 0028-3908, E-ISSN 1873-7064, Vol. 248, article id 109866Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) peptide and its receptor NOP are highly expressed within several regions of the mesolimbic system, including the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Evidence indicates that the N/OFQ-NOP receptor system is involved in reward processing and historically it has been proposed that activation of NOP receptors attenuates the motivation for substances of abuse. However, recent findings demonstrated that drug self -administration and relapse to drug -seeking are also attenuated after administration of NOP receptor antagonists. Here, to shed light on the mechanisms through which NOP receptor blockers modulate these processes, we utilized ex vivo patch -clamp recordings to investigate the effect of the selective NOP receptor antagonist LY2817412 on VTA dopaminergic (DA) function in male rats. Results showed that, similar to the endogenous NOP receptor agonist N/OFQ, LY2817412 reduced the spontaneous basal firing discharge of VTA DA neurons. Consistently, we found that NOP receptors are expressed both in VTA DA and GABA cells and that LY2817412 slice perfusion increased GABA release onto VTA DA cells. Finally, in the attempt to dissect the role of postsynaptic and presynaptic NOP receptors, we tested the effect of N/OFQ and LY2817412 in the presence of GABA receptors blockers. Results showed that the effect of LY2817412 was abolished following pretreatment with GABABR, but not GABAAR, blockers. Conversely, inhibition of DA neuronal activity by N/OFQ was unaffected by blockade of GABA receptors. Altogether, these results suggest that both NOP receptor agonists and antagonists can decrease VTA DA neuronal activity, but through distinct mechanisms of action. The effect of NOP receptor antagonists occurs through a GABABR-mediated mechanism while NOP receptor agonists seem to act via a direct effect on VTA DA neurons.

  • 8.
    Toivainen Eloff, Sanne
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Gobbo, Francesco
    Univ Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Della Valle, Andrea
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Coppola, Andrea
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Different mechanisms underlie compulsive alcohol self-administration in male and female rats2024In: Biology of Sex Differences, ISSN 2042-6410, Vol. 15, no 1, article id 17Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BackgroundSex is an important factor in the progression and treatment of alcohol addiction, and therapeutic approaches may have to be tailored to potential sex differences. This highlights the importance of understanding sex differences in behaviors that reflect key elements of clinical alcohol addiction, such as continued use despite negative consequences ("compulsive use"). Studies in experimental animals can help provide an understanding of the role sex plays to influence these behaviors.MethodsLarge populations of genetically heterogeneous male and female Wistar rats were tested in an established model of compulsive alcohol self-administration, operationalized as alcohol responding despite contingent foot shock punishment. We also tested baseline (fixed ratio, unpunished) operant alcohol self-administration, motivation to self-administer alcohol (progressive ratio), and temporal discounting for alcohol reward. In search of predictors of compulsivity, animals were screened for novelty-induced place preference, anxiety-like behavior, pain sensitivity and corticosterone levels. The estrous cycle was monitored throughout the study.ResultsUnpunished self-administration of alcohol did not differ between males and females when alcohol intake was corrected for body weight. Overall, females showed higher levels of compulsive responding for alcohol. Compulsive response rates showed bimodal distributions in male but not in female rats when intermediate shock intensities were used (0.2 and 0.25 mA); at higher shock intensities, responding was uniformly suppressed in both males and females. We also found less steep discounting in females when alcohol was devalued by delaying its delivery. Males exhibited a stronger motivation to obtain alcohol under unpunished conditions, while females showed higher corticosterone levels at baseline. Factor analysis showed that an underlying dimension related to stress and pain predicted compulsivity in females, while compulsivity in males was predicted by a reward factor. We did not find differences in alcohol-related behaviors throughout the various stages of the estrous cycle.ConclusionsOur results suggest that mechanisms promoting compulsivity, a key feature of alcohol addiction, likely differ between males and females. This underscores the importance of considering sex as a biological variable in both preclinical and clinical research, and has potential treatment implications in alcohol addiction. Sex plays an important role in the progression and treatment of alcohol addiction. While men show a higher prevalence of alcohol addiction, women are more susceptible to the adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Additionally, women often rely on heavy drinking as a maladaptive coping mechanism to alleviate stress and anxiety, driven by negative affect. On the other hand, men are more likely to report heavy drinking and relapse in response to positive emotions and social influences. These sex-based differences underline the importance of understanding how vulnerability to alcohol addiction and its treatment varies in males and females.We used genetically heterogeneous rats to explore the behavioral traits that contribute to compulsivity, a key clinical feature of alcohol addiction. We found that motivation to self-administer alcohol was higher in males, while females showed higher compulsive alcohol self-administration. In males, motivation to self-administer alcohol showed a significant correlation with compulsivity, while in females compulsivity was predicted by higher basal corticosterone levels.These findings underlie the importance of sex-specific factors in compulsive alcohol self-administration, with potential prevention and treatment implications in alcohol addiction. Male rats showed a higher motivation to obtain alcohol.Females showed higher levels of compulsive responding for alcohol and a less steep discounting when alcohol was devalued by delaying its delivery.In males compulsivity was predicted by a reward factor, while in females by stress-pain factors.

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