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Keywords:

  • cocaine;
  • nucleus accumbens;
  • PKA;
  • progressive ratio;
  • rat;
  • self-administration

Abstract

Drug-induced neuroadaptations within the nucleus accumbens, including activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA), may contribute to the synaptic plasticity and behavioural changes that underlie drug addiction. As a direct test of this hypothesis, we examined the effects in rats of PKA activation (Sp-cAMPS infusions of 10 and 20 nmol/side) and inhibition (Rp-cAMPS infusions of 10 and 20 nmol/side) in the nucleus accumbens on motivation to obtain cocaine as measured by responding under the progressive-ratio schedule. Bilateral infusions of Sp-cAMPS (20 nmol/side) resulted in an increase in progressive-ratio responding for cocaine and this effect persisted for several days. In contrast, Rp-cAMPS (20 nmol/side) produced persistent decreases in progressive-ratio responding for cocaine beginning on the day of administration and lasting for several days. These data suggest that alternations in PKA activity within the nucleus accumbens as a consequence of repeated cocaine exposure may contribute to addiction by producing persistent increases in motivation to obtain cocaine.