Author(s): Walters CL, Kuo YC, Blendy JA
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Abstract The transcription factor cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) has been implicated in the long-term neuronal plasticity associated with addiction. While CREB is expressed in many cells throughout the brain, very little is known about the relative concentrations of CREB protein in various brain regions. Studies in which CREB levels have been altered, either constitutively throughout the brain via gene targeting or transiently in specific brain regions, demonstrate variable roles for this protein in mediating reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse. To investigate the complex nature of CREB function in addiction, we examined the distribution of CREB protein in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), two brain regions that are part of the well-defined mesolimbic dopamine pathway involved in reward processing. Our data demonstrate significantly more CRE binding activity and CREB protein in the NAc compared to levels present in the VTA of wild-type mice. Phospho-CREB levels are increased in the NAc of both wild-type and CREBalphaDelta mutant animals after cocaine. However, morphine-induced increases of phospho-CREB levels are seen in the VTA of wild-type mice but not CREBalphaDelta mutant mice. Consequently, the 90\% reduction of CREB in CREBalphaDelta mutant mice differentially affects CREB phosphorylation and induction of downstream targets of CREB in the NAc and VTA.
This article was published in J Neurochem
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy