Brief social defeat stress: Long lasting effects on cocaine taking during a binge and zif268 mRNA expression in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex

Herbert E. Covington, Takefumi Kikusui, Justin Goodhue, Ella M. Nikulina, Ronald P. Hammer, Klaus A. Miczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social stress can engender behavioral and neural sensitization and this process appears to enhance the transition to compulsive drug abuse. Exposures to brief social defeat stress in rats have significant consequences on cocaine-reinforced behavior and on the level of functional activation within regions of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system. The objectives of the current study were to examine the enduring consequences of brief episodes of social defeat stress on cocaine bingeing (during 24 h of continuous access) and on the emergence of neural adaptations as revealed by zif268 immediate early gene expression. Adult, male Long-Evans rats were subjected to four 25 min episodes of social defeat (once every 72 h). After 2 months, cocaine binges or zif268 mRNA gene expression were studied after confirming behavioral cross-sensitization to stimulant challenge. Sensitization to social defeat increased cocaine intake during a 24 h binge, effectively abolishing the typical circadian pattern of intake. Furthermore, 60 days after exposure to the sensitizing regimen of social defeat, levels of functional activation, measured by zif268 mRNA expression, in the central and medial amygdala were increased, while levels of activation in the medial prefrontal cortex were decreased. Persistent stress-induced levels of zif268 in the central and medial amygdala were attenuated by an injection of amphetamine (1.0 mg/kg). Divergent changes in zif268 within the amygdala and cortex 2 months after social defeat stress indicate the vulnerability of distinct cellular populations in networks that modulate the behavioral actions of psychomotor stimulants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-321
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Amphetamine
  • Drug abuse
  • Functional activation
  • Immediate early gene
  • Rat
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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