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PLoS One. 2016 Jul 12;11(7):e0159104. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159104. eCollection 2016.

Decreased Caffeine-Induced Locomotor Activity via Microinjection of CART Peptide into the Nucleus Accumbens Is Linked to Inhibition of the pCaMKIIa-D3R Interaction.

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Department of Respiration, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China.
Department of Respiration, Department Two, Jiangxi Provincial People's Hospital, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China.
Department of Pathophysiology, College of Medicine, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China.
Department of Breast Surgery, Jiangxi Tumor Hospital, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China.
Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, China.
College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Republic of Korea.


The purpose of this study was to characterize the inhibitory modulation of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptides, particularly with respect to the function of the D3 dopamine receptor (D3R), which is activated by its interaction with phosphorylated CaMKIIα (pCaMKIIα) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). After repeated oral administration of caffeine (30 mg/kg) for five days, microinjection of CART peptide (0.08 μM/0.5 μl/hemisphere) into the NAc affected locomotor behavior. The pCaMKIIα-D3R interaction, D3R phosphorylation and cAMP/PKA/phosphorylated CREB (pCREB) signaling pathway activity were measured in NAc tissues, and Ca2+ influx and pCaMKIIα levels were measured in cultured NAc neurons. We found that CART attenuated the caffeine-mediated enhancement of depolarization-induced Ca2+ influx and CaMKIIα phosphorylation in cultured NAc neurons. Repeated microinjection of CART peptides into the NAc decreased the caffeine-induced enhancement of Ca2+ channels activity, pCaMKIIα levels, the pCaMKIIα-D3R interaction, D3R phosphorylation, cAMP levels, PKA activity and pCREB levels in the NAc. Furthermore, behavioral sensitization was observed in rats that received five-day administration of caffeine following microinjection of saline but not in rats that were treated with caffeine following microinjection of CART peptide. These results suggest that caffeine-induced CREB phosphorylation in the NAc was ameliorated by CART peptide due to its inhibition of D3R phosphorylation. These effects of CART peptides may play a compensatory role by inhibiting locomotor behavior in rats.

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