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Drugs of abuse, such as cocaine, produce aberrant changes in synaptic transmission and plasticity that emerge throughout withdrawal. One region of the brain that displays a high degree of synaptic plasticity, as well as connectivity with mesolimbic structures such as the nucleus accumbens, is the ventral hippocampus (vH). Here, we investigated the effects of an escalating cocaine dosing schedule on vH CA1 excitatory transmission by measuring place preference and recording excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) at three different withdrawal time points: withdrawal day (WD) 2, 9 or 28. Behaviourally, this escalating cocaine-conditioning protocol was capable of producing conditioned place preference that persisted through WD28. Physiologically, cocaine conditioning produced an increase in vH excitatory transmission on WD2 that appeared to be the result of an increase in calcium-impermeable (CI)-AMPA receptor density. Excitatory transmission was still enhanced in cocaine-treated animals on WD9; however, a significant increase in the contribution of calcium-permeable (CP)-AMPA receptors to EPSCs was detected as compared with WD2. By WD28, these CP-AMPA receptors provided a major contribution to vH CA1 excitatory transmission, resulting in synaptic responses distinct from WD2 and WD9. Taken together, these results highlight progressive changes in vH synaptic transmission during withdrawal that may enhance cocaine contextual associations. © 2021 Society for the Study of Addiction.


Collin J Preston, John J Wagner. Withdrawal from cocaine conditioning progressively alters AMPA receptor-mediated transmission in the ventral hippocampus. Addiction biology. 2022 Jan;27(1):e13101

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PMID: 34687119

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