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Neuroscience. 1997 Jan;76(1):167-76.

Delayed occurrence of enhanced striatal preprodynorphin gene expression in behaviorally sensitized rats: differential long-term effects of intermittent and chronic morphine administration.

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1
Research Institute Neurosciences Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Protracted changes in basal "steady-state" opioid peptide gene expression in the brain may represent adaptations underlying the behavioral effects of drugs of abuse, observed long after drug exposure. Here, we have studied the long-term effects of two distinct regimens of morphine administration ("intermittent" vs "chronic" morphine treatment) on behavioral sensitization and "steady-state" striatal preprodynorphin and preproenkephalin gene expression in rats. Opioid peptide gene expression was investigated using in situ hybridization at three rostrocaudal levels (rostral, intermediate and caudal) of the caudate-putamen and the nucleus accumbens. Behavioral studies showed that the intermittent morphine treatment resulted in a significantly greater enhancement of morphine-induced locomotion than the chronic morphine treatment three weeks after cessation of opiate exposure. The intermittent morphine treatment resulted in an initial decrease of preprodynorphin gene expression of about 5-10% in the caudate-putamen and the nucleus accumbens at the rostral and intermediate levels one day after the last morphine administration. In contrast, a protracted increase of preprodynorphin gene expression of about 20% throughout the caudate-putamen and of about 6% in intermediate sections of the nucleus accumbens was observed 21 days after cessation of intermittent morphine treatment. Although the chronic morphine treatment induced a decrease of preprodynorphin messenger RNA levels one day after the last administration, no significant changes were observed three weeks after cessation of chronic morphine treatment. No long-term changes were observed in preproenkephalin gene expression after either morphine treatment. Since the intermittent morphine administration induced long-term behavioral sensitization much more effectively than the chronic morphine treatment, we tentatively suggest that the protracted increase of preprodynorphin gene expression may play a facilitative role in the long-term character of opiate-induced behavioral sensitization.

PMID:
8971769
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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