Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci. 2007 Jul 25;27(30):7921-8.

Cocaine experience controls bidirectional synaptic plasticity in the nucleus accumbens.

Author information

Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


Plasticity of glutamatergic synapses is a fundamental mechanism through which experience changes neural function to impact future behavior. In animal models of addiction, glutamatergic signaling in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) exerts powerful control over drug-seeking behavior. However, little is known about whether, how or when experience with drugs may trigger synaptic plasticity in this key nucleus. Using whole-cell synaptic physiology in NAc brain slices, we demonstrate that a progression of bidirectional changes in glutamatergic synaptic strength occurs after repeated in vivo exposure to cocaine. During a protracted drug-free period, NAc neurons from cocaine-experienced mice develop a robust potentiation of AMPAR-mediated synaptic transmission. However, a single re-exposure to cocaine during extended withdrawal becomes a potent stimulus for synaptic depression, abruptly reversing the initial potentiation. These enduring modifications in AMPAR-mediated responses and plasticity may provide a neural substrate for disrupted processing of drug-related stimuli in drug-experienced individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center