J. Neurochem. (2012) 120, 779–794.
Mu opioid receptors are densely expressed in the patch compartment of striatum and contribute to methamphetamine-induced patch-enhanced gene expression and stereotypy. To further elucidate the role of mu opioid receptor activation in these phenomena, we examined whether activation of mu opioid receptors would enhance methamphetamine-induced stereotypy and prodynorphin, c-fos, arc and zif/268 expression in the patch and/or matrix compartments of striatum, as well as the impact of mu opioid receptor activation on the relationship between patch-enhanced gene expression and stereotypy. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were intrastriatally infused with d-Ala(2)-N-Me-Phe(4),Gly(5)-ol]enkephalin (DAMGO; 1 μg/μL), treated with methamphetamine (0.5 mg/kg) and killed at 45 min or 2 h later. DAMGO augmented methamphetamine-induced zif/268 mRNA expression in the patch and matrix compartments, while prodynorphin expression was increased in the dorsolateral patch compartment. DAMGO pre-treatment did not affect methamphetamine-induced arc and c-fos expression. DAMGO enhanced methamphetamine-induced stereotypy and resulted in greater patch versus matrix expression of prodynorphin in the dorsolateral striatum, leading to a negative correlation between the two. These findings indicate that mu opioid receptors contribute to methamphetamine-induced stereotypy, but can differentially influence the genomic responses to methamphetamine. These data also suggest that prodynorphin may offset the overstimulation of striatal neurons by methamphetamine.