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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007 Feb;32(2):388-98. Epub 2006 May 17.

GABA(B) receptor-positive modulation decreases selective molecular and behavioral effects of cocaine.

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Neuroscience Research, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland.


Exposure to cocaine induces selective behavioral and molecular adaptations. In rodents, acute cocaine induces increased locomotor activity, whereas prolonged drug exposure results in behavioral locomotor sensitization, which is thought to be a consequence of drug-induced neuroadaptive changes. Recent attention has been given to compounds activating GABA(B) receptors as potential antiaddictive therapies. In particular, the principle of allosteric positive GABA(B) receptor modulators is very promising in this respect, as positive modulators lack the sedative and muscle relaxant properties of full GABA(B) receptor agonists such as baclofen. Here, we investigated the effects of systemic application of the GABA(B) receptor-positive modulator GS39783 (N,N'-dicyclopentyl-2-methylsulfanyl-5-nitro-pyrimidine-4, 6-diamine) in animals treated with acute and chronic cocaine administration. Both GS39783 and baclofen dose dependently attenuated acute cocaine-induced hyperlocomotion. Furthermore, both compounds also efficiently blocked cocaine-induced Fos induction in the striatal complex. In chronic studies, GS39783 induced a modest attenuation of cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization. Chronic cocaine induces the accumulation of the transcription factor deltaFosB and upregulates cAMP-response-element-binding protein (CREB) and dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein of 32 kDa (DARPP-32). GS39783 blocked the induction/activation of DARPP-32 and CREB in the nucleus accumbens and dorsal striatum and partially inhibited deltaFosB accumulation in the dorsal striatum. In summary, our data provide evidence that GS39783 attenuates the acute behavioral effects of cocaine exposure in rodents and in addition prevents the induction of selective long-term adaptive changes in dopaminergic signaling pathways. Further investigation of GABA(B) receptor-positive modulation as a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cocaine dependence and possibly other drugs of abuse is therefore warranted.

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