One of the most damaging aspects of drug addiction is the degree to which natural rewards (family, friends, employment) are devalued in favor of seeking, obtaining and taking drugs. We have utilized an animal model of reward devaluation and heroin self-administration to explore the role of the coricotropin releasing factor (CRF) pathway. Given access to a saccharin cue followed by the opportunity to self-administer heroin, animals will parse into distinct phenotypes that suppress their saccharin intake (in favor of escalating heroin self-administration) or vice versa. We find that large saccharin suppressors (large heroin takers) demonstrate increased mRNA expression for elements of the CRF signaling pathway (CRF, CRF receptors and CRF binding protein) within the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex and the ventral tegmental area. Moreover, there were no gene expression changes of these components in the nucleus accumbens. Use of bisulfite conversion sequencing suggests that changes in CRF binding protein and CRF receptor gene expression may be mediated by differential promoter methylation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Brain Research Bulletin|
|State||Published - May 1 2016|
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