Double dissociation in the neural substrates of acute opiate dependence as measured by withdrawal-potentiated startle

A. C. Harris, D. M. Atkinson, D. M. Aase, J. C. Gewirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The basolateral amygdala and portions of the "extended" amygdala (i.e. central nucleus of the amygdala, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and shell of the nucleus accumbens) have been implicated in the aversive aspects of withdrawal from chronic opiate administration. Given that similar withdrawal signs are observed following a single opiate exposure, these structures may also play a role in "acute opiate dependence." In the current study, drug-naïve rats underwent naloxone-precipitated withdrawal from acute morphine (10 mg/kg) exposure on two successive days. On either the first or second day of testing, the basolateral amygdala, central nucleus of the amygdala, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, or nucleus accumbens was temporarily inactivated immediately prior to naloxone injection by microinfusion of the glutamatergic alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole proprionic acid receptor antagonist 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-6-nitro-2,3-dioxo-benzo{f}quinoxaline-7-sulfonamide (3 μg/0.5 μl). On the first day, inactivation of the basolateral amygdala, central nucleus of the amygdala, or bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, but not the nucleus accumbens blocked withdrawal-potentiated startle, a behavioral measure of the anxiogenic effects of withdrawal. On the second day, inactivation of the nucleus accumbens, but not the basolateral amygdala, central nucleus of the amygdala, or bed nucleus of the stria terminalis disrupted the withdrawal effect. Effects of structural inactivations on withdrawal-potentiated startle were not influenced by differences in withdrawal severity on the two days of testing. A fear-potentiated startle procedure provided functional confirmation of correct cannulae placement in basolateral amygdale- and central nucleus of the amygdala-implanted animals. Our findings indicate a double dissociation in the neural substrates of withdrawal-potentiated startle following a first versus second morphine exposure, and may reflect a reorganization of the neural circuitry underlying the expression of withdrawal-induced negative affect during the earliest stages of opiate dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1201-1210
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroscience
Volume139
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Stephanie Hanes for her assistance in data collection. This work was supported by the University of Minnesota, the National Institute of Drug Abuse T32 DA07097 (A.C.H.) and a NARSAD Young Investigator Award (J.C.G.).

Keywords

  • accumbens
  • amygdala
  • anxiety
  • opiate (morphine)
  • startle
  • withdrawal

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