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Context- and time-dependent neurobiological and behavioral sensitization induced by a single morphine exposure in mice

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Qin, W.-J., Wang, Y.-T., Li, P.-M., Wang, X.-X., Li, J.-X., Noori, H., et al. (2016). Context- and time-dependent neurobiological and behavioral sensitization induced by a single morphine exposure in mice. Psychopharmacology, 233(7), 1147-1155. doi:10.1007/s00213-015-4197-2.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-79E2-9
Abstract
Rationale Drug-induced sensitization in the mesocorticolimbic systems is thought to play an important role in certain aspects of drug addiction, including the involvement of drug-associated cues and environments in mediating drug-seeking behaviors. Our previous studies have identified the significance of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) in the development of a single morphine exposure-induced behavioral sensitization. Objectives The present study expands upon these findings by investigating the effect of environment on the expression of behavioral sensitization induced by a single morphine exposure, and the potential involvement of Hsp70 protein levels in these effects. Methods Mice were pretreated with a single morphine injection in test chambers (morphine-paired) or home cages (morphine-unpaired) on day 1 and challenged on day 2 or 8, in test chambers. Hsp70 expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) was analyzed after the challenge. Results The expression of single morphine exposure-induced behavioral sensitization was accompanied by a significant increase in Hsp70 expression in NAc. In contrast, the unpaired morphine-treated group failed to exhibit behavioral sensitization or higher Hsp70 expression. Additionally, by adding a habituation process prior to the challenge, we demonstrated that conditioned hyperactivity, which was not accompanied by an increased expression of Hsp70, is not essential for behavioral sensitization. Conclusions Behavioral sensitization induced by a single morphine exposure in mice exhibits context and time dependency, with environmental context likely functioning via an inhibitory conditioning mechanism. Furthermore, alterations in Hsp70 expression in the NAc may represent a neurobiological sensitization mechanism mediating context- and time-dependent behavioral sensitization.