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Brain Res. 2001 Nov 30;920(1-2):106-16.

Environmental context modulates the ability of cocaine and amphetamine to induce c-fos mRNA expression in the neocortex, caudate nucleus, and nucleus accumbens.

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Biopsychology Programs, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, East Hall, 525 East University Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48019-1109, USA.


We reported previously that environmental novelty enhances the acute psychomotor activating effects of amphetamine, its ability to induce behavioral sensitization, and its ability to induce c-fos mRNA in the striatum and other structures, relative to when amphetamine is given in the home cage. The purpose of the present experiment was 2-fold: to determine (1) whether environmental novelty has a similar effect on the ability of cocaine to induce c-fos mRNA, and (2) whether this effect is seen in neurologically-intact rats (in previous experiments we studied the intact hemisphere of rats with a unilateral 6-OHDA lesion). In the dorsal portion of the caudate putamen, core and shell of the nucleus accumbens, and in several cortical regions, both amphetamine (1.5 mg/kg) and cocaine (15 mg/kg) induced higher levels of c-fos mRNA expression when administered in a novel environment, relative to when they were administered in the home cage. The ability of environmental context to modulate psychostimulant drug-induced immediate early gene expression may be related to its ability to modulate forms of drug experience-dependent plasticity, such as behavioral sensitization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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