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J Neurosci. 2011 Jun 1;31(22):7960-6. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1006-11.2011.

Social bonding decreases the rewarding properties of amphetamine through a dopamine D1 receptor-mediated mechanism.

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Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306, USA.


Although the protective effects of social bonds on drug use/abuse have been well documented, we know little about the underlying neural mechanisms. Using the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster)--a socially monogamous rodent that forms long-term pair bonds after mating--we demonstrate that amphetamine (AMPH) conditioning induced a conditioned place preference (CPP) in sexually naive (SN), but not pair-bonded (PB), males. Although AMPH treatment induced a similar magnitude of dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) of SN and PB males, it had differential effects on NAcc D1 receptor (D1R) binding. Specifically, AMPH treatment increased D1R binding in SN, but decreased D1R binding in PB males. NAcc D1R, but not D2 receptor, antagonism blocked AMPH-induced CPP in SN males and NAcc D1R activation before AMPH conditioning enabled AMPH-induced CPP in PB males. Together, our data demonstrate that pair-bonding experience decreases the rewarding properties of AMPH through a D1R-mediated mechanism.

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