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Neuroscience. 1998 Jul;85(2):415-25.

Enhanced morphine-induced behavioural effects and dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens in a transgenic mouse model of impaired glucocorticoid (type II) receptor function: influence of long-term treatment with the antidepressant moclobemide.

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Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroendocrinology, Munich, Germany.


In vivo microdialysis experiments were conducted in transgenic mice with impaired glucocorticoid receptor function resulting from expression of antisense directed against glucocorticoid receptor messenger RNA. Basal corticosterone and serotonin levels in the nucleus accumbens of untreated transgenic mice were enhanced compared to control mice (B6C3F1). Following a systemic morphine injection (15 mg/kg) mesolimbic dopamine and serotonin release was markedly increased in transgenic mice compared to control mice and in parallel enhanced behavioural stimulation was observed in these animals. After pretreatment with the antidepressant moclobemide over a time period of eight weeks (15 mg/kg/day) elevated basal levels of both corticosterone and serotonin were normalized in transgenic mice. Furthermore, morphine-induced dopamine and serotonin release as well as behavioral stimulation were suppressed in transgenic mice and similar to that in control mice. The results indicate that impaired glucocorticoid receptor function influences the basal release of serotonin in the nucleus accumbens. This alteration has no effect on basal but on morphine-stimulated release of dopamine in the mesolimbic system. An enhanced sensitivity to the effects of morphine is apparently related to elevated brain corticosterone and serotonin levels and can be normalized by long-term antidepressant treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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