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Keywords:

  • relapse;
  • SCH 23390;
  • self-administration;
  • stress

Abstract

The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) plays a critical role in both priming-and cue-induced reinstatement of extinguished drug-seeking behavior, but its role in stress-induced reinstatement is less clear. Our laboratory has recently demonstrated that systemic administration of the DA D1-like receptor antagonist, SCH 23390, attenuates acute food deprivation (FD) stress-induced reinstatement. The current study was designed to elucidate the brain regions critical to the effect of SCH 23390 on FD stress-induced reinstatement. Rats were trained to press a lever to self-administer heroin (0.1 mg/kg/inf) over a period of 10 days. Following training, heroin was removed leading to an extinction of lever pressing. Next, rats were tested for reinstatement twice, under extinction conditions: once following 21–48 h FD; and once under sated conditions. Prior to testing, SCH 23390 was administered into the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell (0.0, 0.3, 0.6 μg/side), NAc core (0.0, 0.3, 0.6 μg/side), dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC; 0.0, 0.2, 2.0 μg/side), ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC; 0.0, 2.0 μg/side) or basolateral amygdala (BLA; 0.0, 1.0, 2.0 μg/side). An attenuation of FD-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking was seen in rats injected with SCH 23390 into the NAc shell, dmPFC or BLA, but not into the NAc core or the vmPFC. These findings support the hypothesis that DA transmission through the DA D1-like receptors plays a critical role in stress-induced reinstatement of heroin seeking.