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Eur J Neurosci. 2009 Aug;30(3):493-503. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06844.x. Epub 2009 Jul 28.

Orexin/hypocretin signaling at the orexin 1 receptor regulates cue-elicited cocaine-seeking.

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Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425-5100, USA.


The orexin/hypocretin system has recently been implicated in reward-processing and addiction. We examined the involvement of the orexin system in cue-induced reinstatement of extinguished cocaine-seeking by administering the orexin 1 receptor antagonist SB-334867 (SB) or the orexin 2 receptor antagonist 4-pyridylmethyl (S)-tert-leucyl 6,7-dimethoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (4PT) prior to reinstatement testing. Male Sprague Dawley rats self-administered cocaine in 2-h sessions for 10 days, followed by extinction training. Reinstatement of cocaine-seeking was elicited by presentation of tone + light cues previously paired with cocaine infusions. SB (10, 20 and 30 mg/kg) dose-dependently decreased cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking without significantly affecting responding during late extinction. 4PT (10 and 30 mg/kg) did not significantly alter cue-induced reinstatement. In separate experiments, the highest doses of SB and 4PT had no significant effect on established cocaine self-administration, and 4PT reduced spontaneous activity in a locomotor test to a greater extent than SB. Finally, SB (30 mg/kg) had no effect on the acquisition of cocaine-paired cues during a Pavlovian cocaine-stimulus conditioning session in the operant chamber. Pretreatment with SB prior to the Pavlovian acquisition session had no effect on subsequent cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking elicited by those cues. However, pretreatment with SB prior to a second reinstatement session in the same animals significantly attenuated the expression of cue-induced reinstatement. These results show that orexin transmission at the orexin 1 receptor, but not the orexin 2 receptor, is necessary for the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking elicited by drug-paired cues and that orexin signaling is not critical for cocaine reinforcement or cocaine-stimulus conditioning.

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