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Physiol Behav. 2007 Aug 15;91(5):459-72. Epub 2006 Nov 1.

Chronic food restriction: enhancing effects on drug reward and striatal cell signaling.

Author information

  • Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Millhauser Laboratories, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA. kc16@nyu.edu

Abstract

Chronic food restriction (FR) increases behavioral sensitivity to drugs of abuse in animal models and is associated with binge eating, which shares comorbidity with drug abuse, in clinical populations. Behavioral, biochemical and molecular studies conducted in this laboratory to elucidate the functional and mechanistic bases of these phenomena are briefly reviewed. Results obtained to date indicate that FR increases the reward magnitude and locomotor-activating effects of abused drugs, and direct dopamine (DA) receptor agonists, as a result of neuroadaptations rather than changes in drug disposition. Changes in striatal DA dynamics, and postsynaptic cell signaling and gene expression in response to D-1 DA receptor stimulation have been observed. Of particular interest is an upregulation of NMDA receptor-dependent MAP kinase and CaM Kinase II signaling, CREB phosphorylation, and immediate-early and neuropeptide gene expression in nucleus accumbens (NAc) which may facilitate reward-related learning, but also play a role in the genesis of maladaptive goal-directed behaviors. Covariation of altered drug reward sensitivity with body weight loss and recovery suggests a triggering role for one of the endocrine adiposity hormones. However, neither acute nor chronic central infusions of leptin or the melanocortin 3/4 receptor agonist, MTII, have attenuated d-amphetamine reward or locomotor activation in FR rats. Interestingly, chronic intracerebroventricular leptin infusion in ad libitum fed (AL) rats produced a sustained decrease in food intake and body weight that was accompanied by a reversible potentiation of rewarding and locomotor-activating effects of d-amphetamine. This raises the interesting possibility that rapid progressive weight loss is sufficient to increase behavioral sensitivity to drugs of abuse. Whether weight loss produced by leptin infusion produces the same neuroadaptations as experimenter-imposed FR, and whether any of the observed neuroadaptations are necessary for expression of increased behavioral responsiveness to acute drug challenge remain to be investigated.

PMID:
17081571
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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