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Addict Biol. 2018 May;23(3):849-856. doi: 10.1111/adb.12533. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

Locomotor sensitization is expressed by ghrelin and D1 dopamine receptor agonist in the nucleus accumbens core in amphetamine pre-exposed rat.

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Department of Physiology, Brain Korea 21 Plus Project for Medical Science, Brain Research Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.


Ghrelin modulates mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways in the brain in addition to its role in feeding. We investigated what roles ghrelin in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) core may play in mediating locomotor activating effects of amphetamine (AMPH). First, when rats were administered with AMPH (1 mg/kg, i.p.) following a bilateral microinjection of ghrelin (0.1 or 0.5 μg/side) into the NAcc core, their locomotor activity was significantly enhanced, while these effects were blocked by co-microinjection of ghrelin receptor antagonist (0.5 μg/side) into this site. Second, we pre-exposed rats to saline or amphetamine (1 mg/kg, i.p.) every 2 to 3 days for a total of four times. After 2 weeks of drug-free withdrawal period, we examined the effect of saline, ghrelin (0.5 μg/side), D1 dopamine receptor agonist, SKF81297 (0.5 μg/side) or ghrelin (0.5 μg/side) + SKF81297 (0.5 μg/side) directly microinjected into the NAcc core on locomotor activity. When we measured rats' locomotor activity for 1 hour immediately following microinjections, only ghrelin + SKF81297 produces sensitized locomotor activity, while all others have no effects. These results suggest that ghrelin may have a distinct role in the NAcc core to provoke the sensitized locomotor activity induced by psychomotor stimulants, and further, it may produce these effects by interaction with D1 dopamine receptors.


SKF81297; amphetamine; ghrelin; locomotor activity; nucleus accumbens core


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