Restoring glutamate homeostasis in the nucleus accumbens via endocannabinoid-mimetic drug prevents relapse to cocaine seeking behavior in rats
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AbstractImpaired glutamate homeostasis is a key characteristic of the neurobiology of drug addiction in rodent models and contributes to the vulnerability to relapse to drug seeking. Although disrupted astrocytic and presynaptic regulation of glutamate release has been considered to constitute with impaired glutamate homeostasis in rodent model of drug relapse, the involvement of endocannabinoids (eCBs) in this neurobiological process has remained largely unknown. Here, using cocaine self-administration in rats, we investigated the role of endocannabinoids in impaired glutamate homeostasis in the core of nucleus accumbens (NAcore), which was indicated by augmentation of spontaneous synaptic glutamate release, downregulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 2/3 (mGluR2/3), and mGluR5-mediated astrocytic glutamate release. We found that the endocannabinoid, anandamide (AEA), rather than 2-arachidonoylglycerol elicited glutamate release through presynaptic transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and astrocytic cannabinoid type-1 receptors (CB1Rs) in the NAcore of saline-yoked rats. In rats with a history of cocaine self-administration and extinction training, AEA failed to alter synaptic glutamate release in the NAcore, whereas CB1R-mediated astrocytic glutamate release by AEA remained functional. In order to induce increased astrocytic glutamate release via exogenous AEA, (R)-methanandamide (methAEA, a metabolically stable form of AEA) was chronically infused in the NAcore via osmotic pumps during extinction training. Restoration of mGluR2/3 function and mGluR5-mediated astrocytic glutamate release was observed after chronic methAEA infusion. Additionally, priming or cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking was inhibited in methAEA-infused rats. These results demonstrate that enhancing endocannabinoid signaling is a potential pathway to restore glutamate homeostasis and may represent a promising therapeutic strategy for preventing cocaine relapse. Copyright 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
SponsorsThe project was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFC0803605) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 81271472 and 31571094) to H-WS.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/15380
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