Cocaine pre-exposure enhances CRF-induced expression of c-fos mRNA in the central nucleus of the amygdala: an effect that parallels the effects of cocaine pre-exposure on CRF-induced locomotor activity.Neurosci Lett. 2005 Aug 05; 383(3):209-14.NL
There is evidence that cocaine pre-exposure produces changes in the responsivity of central corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) systems and that these systems mediate some of the drug-related behavioural effects of acute stressors. The present experiment was conducted to assess the effects of repeated cocaine exposure on CRF-induced neuronal activation within two regions of the extended amygdala, the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) and lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). In addition, CRF-induced neuronal activation was compared with CRF-induced locomotor activity. Rats were injected for 7 days with cocaine (days 1 and 7 in test chambers; days 2-6 in homecages) or saline. After 10 drug-free days, locomotor responsiveness to intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections of CRF and Vehicle was assessed over 2-h test periods. Twenty-four to 48 h following testing for locomotor activity, animals were injected with either CRF or Vehicle, 30 min before being sacrificed. Subsequently, the brains were processed by in situ hybridization for c-fos mRNA, a widely used marker of neuronal activation, in the CeA and BNST. In CeA, i.c.v. CRF enhanced the expression of c-fos mRNA in cocaine, but not saline, pre-exposed animals; in the same animals, i.c.v. CRF resulted in enhanced locomotor activity in cocaine, but not saline, pre-exposed animals. The results demonstrate that repeated exposure to cocaine changes the neuronal response to CRF in the CeA; furthermore, they suggest that these changes in the CeA could potentially be of functional significance in the effects of repeated cocaine exposure on CRF-induced locomotor activity.