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    Cocaine may cause persistent changes in the brain, which are more apparent in DA transporter (DAT) and DA receptor availability within the nucleus accumbens (NAc). On the other hand, the DA D3 receptor (D3R) has emerged as a promising pharmacotherapeutic target for substance use disorders. This study aims to assess the impact of selective D3R antagonism on DAT and D3R after reinstatement of cocaine preference (CPP) induced by an acute session of social defeat stress (SDS) and a cocaine prime in mice after a period of abstinence. Male mice were conditioned with 25 mg/kg of cocaine for 4 days. After 60 days of extinction training mice were pretreated with the selective D3R antagonist SB-277011A before the re-exposure to a priming dose of cocaine or to a single SDS session. CPP scores were determined and levels of DAT, D3R, phospho Akt (pAkt) and phospho mTOR (pmTOR) were assessed in the NAc shell. An increase in DAT and D3R expression was seen in the NAc after both a cocaine prime- and SDS-induced reinstatement of CPP. Pretreatment with SB-277011A blocked elevated DAT and D3R expression as well as SDS-induced reinstatement. By contrast, the blockade of D3R did not modified the cocaine prime-induced CPP. Changes in DAT and D3R expression do not seem to occur via the canonic pathway involving Akt/mTOR. Our results suggest that the selective D3R antagonist ability to inhibit DAT and D3R up-regulation could represent a possible mechanism for its behavioral effects in cocaine-memories reinstatement induced by social stress.


    Rocío Guerrero-Bautista, Aurelio Franco-García, Juana M Hidalgo, Francisco Fernández-Gómez, M Victoria Milanés, Cristina Núñez. Blockade of D3 receptor prevents changes in DAT and D3R expression in the mesolimbic dopaminergic circuit produced by social stress- and cocaine prime-induced reinstatement of cocaine-CPP. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). 2020 Nov;34(11):1300-1315

    PMID: 32648812

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