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Keywords:

  • cocaine;
  • GSK3β;
  • locomotor activity;
  • nucleus accumbens

Abstract

Glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), which is abundantly present in the brain, is known to contribute to psychomotor stimulant-induced locomotor behaviors. However, most studies have been focused in showing that GSK3β is able to attenuate psychomotor stimulants-induced hyperactivity by increasing its phosphorylation levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). So, here we examined in the opposite direction about the effects of decreased phosphorylation of GSK3β in the NAcc core on both basal and cocaine-induced locomotor activity by a bilateral microinjection into this site of an artificially synthesized peptide, S9 (0.5 or 5.0 μg/μL), which contains sequences around N-terminal serine 9 residue of GSK3β. We found that decreased levels of GSK3β phosphorylation in the NAcc core enhance cocaine-induced hyper-locomotor activity, while leaving basal locomotor activity unchanged. This is the first demonstration, to our knowledge, that the selective decrease of GSK3β phosphorylation levels in the NAcc core may contribute positively to cocaine-induced locomotor activity, while this is not sufficient for the generation of locomotor behavior by itself without cocaine. Taken together, these findings importantly suggest that GSK3β may need other molecular targets which are co-activated (or deactivated) by psychomotor stimulants like cocaine to contribute to generation of locomotor behaviors.