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Med Sci Monit. 2017 Jun 9;23:2805-2815.

Changes in Expression of Dopamine, Its Receptor, and Transporter in Nucleus Accumbens of Heroin-Addicted Rats with Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Overexpression.

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Department of Histology and Embryology, Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou, China (mainland).


BACKGROUND The aim of this study was to explore how changes in the expression of BDNF in MLDS change the effect of BDNF on dopamine (DA) neurons, which may have therapeutic implications for heroin addiction. MATERIAL AND METHODS We established a rat model of heroin addiction and observed changes in the expression of BDNF, DA, dopamine receptor (DRD), dopamine transporter (DAT), and other relevant pathways in NAc. We also assessed the effect of BDNF overexpression in the NAc, behavioral changes of heroin-conditioned place preference (CPP), and naloxone withdrawal in rats with high levels of BDNF. We established 5 adult male rat groups: heroin addiction, lentivirus transfection, blank virus, sham operation, and control. The PCR gene chip was used to study gene expression changes. BDNF lentivirus transfection was used for BDNF overexpression. A heroin CPP model and a naloxone withdrawal model of rats were established. RESULTS Expression changes were found in 20 of the 84 DA-associated genes in the NAc of heroin-addicted rats. Weight loss and withdrawal symptoms in the lentivirus group for naloxone withdrawal was less than in the blank virus and the sham operation group. These 2 latter groups also showed significant behavioral changes, but such changes were not observed in the BDNF lentivirus group before or after training. DRD3 and DAT increased in the NAc of the lentivirus group. CONCLUSIONS BDNF and DA in the NAc are involved in heroin addiction. BDNF overexpression in NAc reduces withdrawal symptoms and craving behavior for medicine induced by environmental cues for heroin-addicted rats. BDNF participates in the regulation of the dopamine system by acting on DRD3 and DAT.

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