Drug addiction is a brain disorder characterized by chronic, compulsive use of drugs. Previous studies have found a number of chronic morphine-induced changes in the brain at molecular levels. A study from our lab showed that chronic morphine-induced increase in the expression of presynaptic D1 receptors in basolateral amygdala (BLA) neurons played an important role in environmental cue-induced retrieval of morphine withdrawal memory. However, the downstream neurocircuitry of chronic morphine-induced increase presynaptic D1 receptors in the BLA remains to be elucidated. Using retrogradely labelling technique combined with whole-cell patch-clamp methods, our results showed that (1) chronic morphine sensitized the effect of D1 receptor agonist on presynaptic glutamate release in BLA neurons that projected to the prelimbic cortex (PrL), but had no influence on that in BLA neurons that projected to the nucleus accumbens (NAc) or the CA1 of the hippocampus; (2) chronic morphine sensitized the effect of D1 receptor agonist on action potential firing in BLA neurons that projected to the PrL, but without affecting the intrinsic excitability and the sensitivity of postsynaptic glutamate receptors to glutamate in BLA neurons that projected to the PrL. These results suggest that chronic morphine selectively sensitizes the effect of D1 receptor agonist on presynaptic glutamate release in BLA neurons that project to PrL and induces a sensitization of the effect of D1 receptor agonist on action potential firing in BLA neurons that project to the PrL.
Neuropharmacology – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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