Long-term depression in the nucleus accumbens: A neural correlate of behavioral sensitization to cocaine

Mark J. Thomas, Corinne Beurrier, Antonello Bonci, Robert C. Malenka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

475 Scopus citations

Abstract

A compelling model of experience-dependent plasticity is the long-lasting sensitization to the locomotor stimulatory effects of drugs of abuse. Adaptations in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a component of the mesolimbic dopamine system, are thought to contribute to this behavioral change. Here we examine excitatory synaptic transmission in NAc slices prepared from animals displaying sensitization 10-14 days after repeated in vivo cocaine exposure. The ratio of AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy5-methyl-4- isoxazole propionic acid) receptor- to NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) was decreased at synapses made by prefrontal cortical afferents onto medium spiny neurons in the shell of the NAc. The amplitude of miniature EPSCs at these synapses also was decreased, as was the magnitude of long-term depression. These data suggest that chronic in vivo administration of cocaine elicits a long-lasting depression of excitatory synaptic transmission in the NAc, a change that may contribute to behavioral sensitization and addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1223
Number of pages7
JournalNature neuroscience
Volume4
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 24 2001

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term depression in the nucleus accumbens: A neural correlate of behavioral sensitization to cocaine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this