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Synapse. 2009 Apr;63(4):257-68. doi: 10.1002/syn.20606.

Differential regulation of prodynophin, c-fos, and serotonin transporter mRNA following withdrawal from a chronic, escalating dose regimen of D-amphetamine.

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Division of Basic Sciences, Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, Georgia 31207,USA.


Several lines of evidence suggest that D-amphetamine (D-AMPH) withdrawal induces a syndrome with symptoms similar to major depressive disorder (MDD). Upregulation of dynorphin (DYN) may underlie the symptoms of MDD and contribute to the negative emotional symptoms associated with psychostimulant withdrawal. Changes in the serotonin transporter (SERT) have also been reported in MDD, and changes in the immediate early gene c-fos have been observed in the context of psychostimulant withdrawal. This study examined the effects of chronic, escalating doses of D-AMPH followed by 24 h of withdrawal on the expression of prodynorphin (PD) and c-fos mRNA in limbic regions of the brain, caudate putamen (CPu), and brainstem and SERT mRNA expression in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated three times a day for 4 days with escalating doses of D-AMPH (1-10 mg/kg) and sacrificed 24 h after the last injection. Following 24 h of withdrawal, there was an increase in PD and c-fos mRNA expression in the CPu and nucleus accumbens (NAc), and a decrease in PD and c-fos expression in hippocampus and amygdala. SERT mRNA expression was decreased in the DRN, and PD mRNA expression was increased in the adjacent ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (VLPAG) following D-AMPH withdrawal. These data indicate that region-specific changes in PD and c-fos expression occur after withdrawal, while SERT mRNA expression is suppressed, similar to what has been reported in MDD. Alterations in PD, c-fos, and SERT expression could contribute to the depression-like syndrome associated with psychostimulant withdrawal.

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