Nucleus accumbens GLT-1a overexpression reduces glutamate efflux during reinstatement of cocaine-seeking but is not sufficient to attenuate reinstatement.Neuropharmacology 2018; 135:297-307N
Cocaine use disorder is a chronically relapsing disease without FDA-approved treatments. Using a rodent model of cocaine relapse, we and others have previously demonstrated that the beta-lactam antibiotic ceftriaxone attenuates cue- and cocaine-primed reinstatement of cocaine-seeking. Ceftriaxone restores cocaine-induced deficits in both system xc- and GLT-1 expression and function in the nucleus accumbens core (NAc). We recently demonstrated that restoration of GLT-1 expression in the NAc is necessary for ceftriaxone to attenuate reinstatement of cocaine-seeking. Here we used an adeno-associated virus (AAV) to overexpress GLT-1a in the NAc to investigate whether such restoration is sufficient to attenuate cue- and cocaine-primed reinstatement. Rats self-administered cocaine for two weeks and received injections of either AAV-GFAP-GLT-1a or AAV-GFAP-eGFP in the NAc following the last day of self-administration. Rats then underwent three weeks of extinction training (during which time transduction and expression occurred) before undergoing a cue- or cocaine-primed reinstatement test. Microdialysis for the quantification of glutamate efflux in the NAc was conducted during the cocaine-primed test. Rats that received AAV-GFAP-GLT-1a reinstated cue-primed cocaine-seeking in a similar manner as rats that received the control AAV-GFAP-eGFP. Upregulation of GLT-1a attenuated glutamate efflux during a cocaine-primed reinstatement test, but was not sufficient to attenuate reinstatement. We confirmed that GLT-1a upregulation resulted in functional upregulation of glutamate transport and expression, without affecting sodium-independent glutamate uptake, indicating system xc-was not altered. These results indicate that upregulation of NAc GLT-1 transporters alone is not sufficient to prevent the reinstatement of cocaine-seeking and implicate additional mechanisms in regulating glutamate efflux.