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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009 Dec;34(13):2642-54. doi: 10.1038/npp.2009.125. Epub 2009 Sep 2.

Selective boosting of transcriptional and behavioral responses to drugs of abuse by histone deacetylase inhibition.

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  • 1Area de Psicobiologia, Universitat Jaume I, Castello, Spain. csanchis@psb.uji.es


Histone acetylation and other modifications of the chromatin are important regulators of gene expression and, consequently, may contribute to drug-induced behaviors and neuroplasticity. Earlier studies have shown that a reduction in histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity results in the enhancement of some psychostimulant-induced behaviors. In this study, we extend those seminal findings by showing that the administration of the HDAC inhibitor sodium butyrate enhances morphine-induced locomotor sensitization and conditioned place preference. In contrast, this compound has no effects on the development of morphine tolerance and dependence. Similar effects were observed for cocaine and ethanol-induced behaviors. These behavioral changes were accompanied by a selective boosting of a component of the transcriptional program activated by chronic morphine administration that included circadian clock genes and other genes relevant to addictive behavior. Our results support a specific function for histone acetylation and the epigenetic modulation of transcription at a reduced number of biologically relevant loci on non-homeostatic, long-lasting, drug-induced behavioral plasticity.

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