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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2017 Oct;161:13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2017.08.012. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

Antagonism of mGlu2/3 receptors in the nucleus accumbens prevents oxytocin from reducing cued methamphetamine seeking in male and female rats.

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Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.
Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA. Electronic address:


Methamphetamine (meth) addiction is a prevalent health concern worldwide, yet remains without approved pharmacological treatments. Preclinical evidence suggests that oxytocin may decrease relapse, but the neuronal underpinnings driving this effect remain unknown. Here we investigate whether oxytocin's effect is dependent on presynaptic glutamatergic regulation in the nucleus accumbens core (NAcore) by blocking metabotropic glutamate receptors 2/3 (mGluR2/3). Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats self-administered meth or sucrose on an escalating fixed ratio, followed by extinction and cue-induced reinstatement sessions. Reinstatement tests consisted of systemic (Experiment 1) or site-specific application of the drugs into the NAcore (Experiments 2 and 3). Before reinstatement sessions, rats received LY341495, an mGluR2/3 antagonist, or its vehicle followed by a second infusion/injection of oxytocin or saline. As expected, both males and females reinstated lever pressing to meth associated cues, and LY341495 alone did not impact this behavior. Oxytocin injected systemically or infused into the NAcore decreased cued meth seeking. Importantly, combined LY341495 and oxytocin administration restored meth cued reinstatement. Interestingly, neither oxytocin nor LY341495 impacted sucrose-cued reinstatement, suggesting distinct mechanisms between meth and sucrose. These findings were consistent between males and females. Overall, we report that oxytocin reduced responding to meth-associated cues and blocking presynaptic mGluR2/3 reversed this effect. Further, oxytocin's effects were specific to meth cues as NAcore oxytocin was without an effect on sucrose cued reinstatement. Results are discussed in terms of oxytocin receptor localization in the NAcore and modulation of presynaptic regulation of glutamate in response to drug associated cues.

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