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Brain Res. 2008 Dec 3;1243:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.09.016. Epub 2008 Sep 16.

Effects of dopamine and NMDA receptors on cocaine-induced Fos expression in the striatum of Fischer rats.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Hunter College, CUNY, 695 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065, USA. wsun@hunter.cuny.edu


Cocaine is an addictive psychostimulant that induces immediate early gene (IEG) expression by activating dopamine (DA) D1 and glutamate NMDA receptors in the striatum. In this study, we show that a single cocaine administration (30 mg/kg) time-dependently increases ERK phosphorylation, c-Fos and FosB protein expression, and MKP-1 phosphorylation (p-MKP-1), in the caudate-putamen (CPu) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) of Fischer rats. In the CPu, 1 h after cocaine injection, the increase in c-Fos and FosB protein expressions is totally abolished by pre-administration of DA-D1 receptor antagonist, SCH23390. In the NAc, SCH23390 also inhibits cocaine-induced c-Fos protein expression. The pre-treatment of NMDA receptor antagonist, MK801, partially reduces cocaine-activated c-Fos protein expression in the CPu. Furthermore, the escalation of p-MKP-1 after acute cocaine administration is dependent on both DA-D1 and NMDA receptor activation in both brain regions examined. Our data suggest that cocaine may modulate ERK pathway signaling through the activation of DA-D1 and NMDA receptors, subsequently influencing the IEG protein expression.

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