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Science. 2009 Jun 26;324(5935):1732-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1168501. Epub 2009 May 28.

Ventral tegmental area BDNF induces an opiate-dependent-like reward state in naive rats.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, 160 College Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E1, Canada. vargashector@yahoo.com

Abstract

The neural mechanisms underlying the transition from a drug-nondependent to a drug-dependent state remain elusive. Chronic exposure to drugs has been shown to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons. BDNF infusions into the VTA potentiate several behavioral effects of drugs, including psychomotor sensitization and cue-induced drug seeking. We found that a single infusion of BDNF into the VTA promotes a shift from a dopamine-independent to a dopamine-dependent opiate reward system, identical to that seen when an opiate-naïve rat becomes dependent and withdrawn. This shift involves a switch in the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors of VTA GABAergic neurons, from inhibitory to excitatory signaling.

PMID:
19478142
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2913611
Free PMC Article

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