Transient viral-mediated overexpression of α-calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in the nucleus accumbens shell leads to long-lasting functional upregulation of α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate receptors: dopamine type-1 receptor and protein kinase A dependence

Singer, B. F.; Loweth, J. A.; Neve, R. L. and Vezina, P. (2010). Transient viral-mediated overexpression of α-calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in the nucleus accumbens shell leads to long-lasting functional upregulation of α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate receptors: dopamine type-1 receptor and protein kinase A dependence. European Journal of Neuroscience, 31(7) pp. 1243–1251.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07155.x

Abstract

Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) activity is necessary for the long-lasting expression of locomotor sensitization and enhanced drug-taking observed in rats previously exposed to psychostimulants. Exposure to these drugs also transiently increases αCaMKII levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), an effect that, when mimicked by transient viral-mediated overexpression of αCaMKII in NAcc shell neurons, leads to long-lasting enhancement in locomotor responding to amphetamine and NAcc α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate (AMPA). The present experiments characterized the dopamine (DA) dependence of the functional AMPA receptor upregulation observed long after transient overexpression of αCaMKII. Rats infected with herpes simplex virus-αCaMKII in the NAcc shell showed a transient increase in αCaMKII levels that peaked at 4 days post-infection and returned to baseline 8 days later. When challenged with AMPA (0.8 nmol/side) in the NAcc shell at 20 days post-infection, these rats showed enhanced locomotion compared with controls. This sensitized locomotor response was blocked when AMPA was coinfused with either the DA type-1 receptor antagonist SCH23390 (0.8 nmol/side) or the protein kinase A inhibitor Rp-cAMPS (80 nmol/side). Neither SCH23390 nor Rp-cAMPS produced locomotor effects when infused by itself into the NAcc shell. Furthermore, these antagonists did not block the acute non-sensitized locomotor response to AMPA observed in control rats. These findings show that transient viral-mediated overexpression of αCaMKII in neurons of the NAcc shell leads to long-lasting functional upregulation of AMPA receptors that is DA type-1 receptor and protein kinase A dependent. Thus, transient increases in levels of αCaMKII in the NAcc shell produce long-lasting changes in the way that DA and glutamate interact in this site to generate locomotor behavior.

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