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J Neurosci. 2002 Jul 1;22(13):5713-8.

Blockade of stress-induced but not cocaine-induced reinstatement by infusion of noradrenergic antagonists into the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis or the central nucleus of the amygdala.

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Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Concordia University, H3G-1M8, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Experiments in our laboratory have shown that central noradrenergic (NA) activation plays a major role in stress-induced reinstatement of drug seeking in rats. In the present experiments, we investigated the effects of blockade of beta-NA adrenoceptors in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and in the region of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) on footshock- and cocaine-induced reinstatement. Rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (0.5 mg/kg, i.v.) for 9 d and, after a 5-7 d drug-free period, were given extinction sessions followed by a test for footshock stress-induced (15 min of intermittent footshock, 0.8 mA) or cocaine-induced (20 mg/kg, i.p.) reinstatement. Before the test, different groups of rats were given bilateral infusions of one of four doses of a mixture of the beta(1)- and beta(2)-receptor antagonists betaxolol and ICI-118,551 (vehicle, 0.25, 0.5, and 1 nmol of each compound in 0.5 microliter) into either the BNST or CeA. We observed a dose-dependent reduction of stress-induced reinstatement after infusions into the BNST and a complete blockade of stress-induced reinstatement after infusions into the CeA at all doses tested. The same treatments did not block cocaine-induced reinstatement when given at either site. These data suggest that stress-induced NA activation in the BNST and in the region of the CeA is critical to relapse to drug seeking induced by stress but not to relapse induced by priming injections of cocaine, and we hypothesize that NA activity leads to activation of corticotropin-releasing factor neurons in these regions.

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