Author(s): Salinas A, Wilde JD, Maldve RE
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Abstract Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is a peptide neurotransmitter that has been implicated in drug reward and reinforcement. CART mRNA and peptide expression are highly concentrated in several compartments of the mesolimbic reward pathway. Several lines of evidence suggest that CART peptides may contribute to rewarding behaviors and the addiction liability of psychostimulants; however, there are no reports of basic work concerning CART in relation to alcohol and mechanisms of alcohol dependence development. Therefore, in this study we investigated the response of CART transcript and peptide to acute ethanol administration in vivo. Rats were administered ethanol (1 g/kg or 3.5 g/kg, 1 h, ip) and CART expression was measured by RT-PCR in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Ethanol (3.5 g/kg) increased CART transcription markedly. The interactions of dopamine on ethanol-induced CART expression were further evaluated pharmacologically using D1 and D2/D3 receptor antagonists. Both SCH 23390 (0.25 mg/kg) or raclopride (0.2 mg/kg) pre-treatment significantly suppressed ethanol-enhancement of CART mRNA transcription. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that CART peptide immunoreactivity was also enhanced in both the core and the shell of the NAcc by ethanol administration. These findings demonstrate that CART mRNA and peptide expression are responsive to acute ethanol administrated in vivo and suggests that CART peptides may be important in regulating the rewarding and reinforcing properties of ethanol.
This article was published in J Neurochem
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy