3 years ago

Escalated cocaine “binges” in rats: enduring effects of social defeat stress or intra-VTA CRF

Klaus A. Miczek, Michael Z. Leonard, Joseph F. DeBold

Abstract

Rationale

Exposure to intermittent social defeat stress elicits corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) release into the VTA and induces long-term modulation of mesocorticolimbic dopamine activity in rats. These adaptations are associated with an intense cocaine-taking phenotype, which is prevented by CRF receptor antagonists.

Objective

The present studies examine whether infusion of CRF into the VTA is sufficient to escalate cocaine-taking behavior, in the absence of social defeat experience. Additionally, we aimed to characterize changes in cocaine valuation that may promote binge-like cocaine intake.

Methods

Male Long-Evans rats were microinjected into the VTA with CRF (50 or 500 ng/side), vehicle, or subjected to social defeat stress, intermittently over 10 days. Animals were then trained to self-administer IV cocaine (FR5). Economic demand for cocaine was evaluated using a within-session behavioral-economics threshold procedure, which was followed by a 24-h extended access “binge.”

Results

Rats that experienced social defeat or received intra-VTA CRF microinfusions (50 ng) both took significantly more cocaine than controls over the 24-h binge but showed distinct patterns of intake. Behavioral economic analysis revealed that individual demand for cocaine strongly predicts binge-like consumption, and demand elasticity (i.e. α) is augmented by intra-VTA CRF, but not by social defeat. The effects of CRF on cocaine-taking were also prevented by intra-VTA pretreatment with CP376395, but not Astressin-2B.

Conclusions

Repeated infusion of CRF into the VTA persistently alters cocaine valuation and intensifies binge-like drug intake in a CRF-R1-dependent manner. Conversely, the persistent pattern of cocaine bingeing induced by social defeat stress may suggest impaired inhibitory control, independent of reward valuation.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-017-4677-7

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-017-4677-7

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