Repeated amphetamine treatment produces a long-lasting augmentation of locomotor behavior in rats, a phenomenon known as behavioral sensitization. This process is thought to be a correlate of the addictive process in humans, and it is believed that there are drug-induced neuroadaptations that underlie these behavioral changes. One mechanism by which amphetamine can alter brain function is by affecting direct intercellular communication between neurons via gap junctions. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of an amphetamine treatment regimen known to produce changes in dye coupling between neurons, a functional correlate of gap junction function, on the expression of the neuronal gap junction-forming protein, connexin36. Here we report that withdrawal from an extended amphetamine regimen produces region-specific and time-dependent changes in connexin36 expression in rat nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex, brain regions known play roles in sensitization and addiction. This is, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of pharmacological manipulation of connexin36 in vivo.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience