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Agonism of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor (GLP-1R) has been effective at treating aspects of addictive behavior for a number of abused substances, including cocaine. However, the molecular mechanisms and brain circuits underlying the therapeutic effects of GLP-1R signaling on cocaine actions remain elusive. Recent evidence has revealed that endogenous signaling at the GLP-1R within the forebrain lateral septum (LS) acts to reduce cocaine-induced locomotion and cocaine conditioned place preference, both considered dopamine (DA)-associated behaviors. DA terminals project from the ventral tegmental area to the LS and express the DA transporter (DAT). Cocaine acts by altering DA bioavailability by targeting the DAT. Therefore, GLP-1R signaling might exert effects on DAT to account for its regulation of cocaine-induced behaviors. We show that the GLP-1R is highly expressed within the LS. GLP-1, in LS slices, significantly enhances DAT surface expression and DAT function. Exenatide (Ex-4), a long-lasting synthetic analog of GLP-1 abolished cocaine-induced elevation of DA. Interestingly, acute administration of Ex-4 reduces septal expression of the retrograde messenger 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), as well as a product of its presynaptic degradation, arachidonic acid (AA). Notably, AA reduces septal DAT function pointing to AA as a novel regulator of central DA homeostasis. We further show that AA oxidation product γ-ketoaldehyde (γ-KA) forms adducts with the DAT and reduces DAT plasma membrane expression and function. These results support a mechanism in which postsynaptic septal GLP-1R activation regulates 2-AG levels to alter presynaptic DA homeostasis and cocaine actions through AA.
Modulation of neurotransmission by the catecholamine dopamine (DA) is conserved across phylogeny. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, excess DA signaling triggers Swimming-Induced Paralysis (Swip), a phenotype first described in animals with loss of function mutations in the presynaptic DA transporter (dat-1). Swip has proven to be a phenotype suitable for the identification of novel dat-1 mutations as well as the identification of novel genes that impact DA signaling. Pharmacological manipulations can also induce Swip, though the reagents employed to date lack specificity and potency, limiting their use in evaluation of dat-1 expression and function. Our lab previously established the mammalian norepinephrine transporter (NET) inhibitor nisoxetine to be a potent antagonist of DA uptake conferred by DAT-1 following heterologous expression. Here we demonstrate the ability of low (μM) concentrations of nisoxetine to trigger Swip within minutes of incubation, with paralysis dependent on DA release and signaling, and non-additive with Swip triggered by dat-1 deletion. Using nisoxetine in combination with genetic mutations that impact DA release, we further demonstrate the utility of the drug for demonstrating contributions of presynaptic DA receptors and ion channels to Swip. Together, these findings reveal nisoxetine as a powerful reagent for monitoring multiple dimensions of DA signaling in vivo, thus providing a new resource that can be used to evaluate contributions of dat-1 and other genes linked to DA signaling without the potential for compensations that attend constitutive genetic mutations.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Cocaine abuse disrupts reward and homeostatic processes through diverse processes, including those involved in circadian clock regulation. Recently we showed that cocaine administration to mice disrupts nocturnal photic phase resetting of the suprachiasmatic (SCN) circadian clock, whereas administration during the day induces non-photic phase shifts. Importantly, the same effects are seen when cocaine is applied to the SCN in vitro, where it blocks photic-like (glutamate-induced) phase shifts at night and induces phase advances during the day. Furthermore, our previous data suggest that cocaine acts in the SCN by enhancing 5-HT signaling. For example, the in vitro actions of cocaine mimic those of 5-HT and are blocked by the 5-HT antagonist, metergoline, but not the dopamine receptor antagonist, fluphenazine. Although our data are consistent with cocaine acting through enhanced 5-HT signaling, the nonselective actions of cocaine as an antagonist of monoamine transporters raises the question of whether inhibition of the 5-HT transporter (SERT) is key to its circadian effects. Here we investigate this issue using transgenic mice expressing a SERT that exhibits normal 5-HT recognition and transport but significantly reduced cocaine potency (SERT Met172). Circadian patterns of SCN behavioral and neuronal activity did not differ between wild-type (WT) and SERT Met172 mice, nor did they differ in the ability of the 5-HT1A,2,7 receptor agonist, 8-OH-DPAT to reset SCN clock phase, consistent with the normal SERT expression and activity in the transgenic mice. However, (1) cocaine administration does not induce phase advances when administered in vivo or in vitro in SERT Met172 mice; (2) cocaine does not block photic or glutamate-induced phase shifts in SERT Met172 mice; and (3) cocaine does not induce long-term changes in free-running period in SERT Met172 mice. We conclude that SERT antagonism is required for the phase shifting of the SCN circadian clock induced by cocaine.
Copyright © 2014 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Substance abuse is a major barrier in eradication of the HIV epidemic because it serves as a powerful cofactor for viral transmission, disease progression, and AIDS-related mortality. Cocaine, one of the commonly abused drugs among HIV-1 patients, has been suggested to accelerate HIV disease progression. However, the underlying mechanism remains largely unknown. Therefore, we tested whether cocaine augments HIV-1-associated CD4(+) T-cell decline, a predictor of HIV disease progression. We examined apoptosis of resting CD4(+) T cells from HIV-1-negative and HIV-1-positive donors in our study, because decline of uninfected cells plays a major role in HIV-1 disease progression. Treatment of resting CD4(+) T cells with cocaine (up to 100 μmol/L concentrations) did not induce apoptosis, but 200 to 1000 μmol/L cocaine induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Notably, treatment of CD4(+) T cells isolated from healthy donors with both HIV-1 virions and cocaine significantly increased apoptosis compared with the apoptosis induced by cocaine or virions alone. Most important, our biochemical data suggest that cocaine induces CD4(+) T-cell apoptosis by increasing intracellular reactive oxygen species levels and inducing mitochondrial depolarization. Collectively, our results provide evidence of a synergy between cocaine and HIV-1 on CD4(+) T-cell apoptosis that may, in part, explain the accelerated disease observed in HIV-1-infected drug abusers.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dopamine (DA) signaling in the central nervous system mediates the addictive capacities of multiple commonly abused substances, including cocaine, amphetamine, heroin and nicotine. The firing of DA neurons residing in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and the release of DA by the projections of these neurons in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), is under tight control by cholinergic signaling mediated by nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptors (nAChRs). The capacity for cholinergic signaling is dictated by the availability and activity of the presynaptic, high-affinity, choline transporter (CHT, SLC5A7) that acquires choline in an activity-dependent matter to sustain ACh synthesis. Here, we present evidence that a constitutive loss of CHT expression, mediated by genetic elimination of one copy of the Slc5a7 gene in mice (CHT+/-), leads to a significant reduction in basal extracellular DA levels in the NAc, as measured by in vivo microdialysis. Moreover, CHT heterozygosity results in blunted DA elevations following systemic nicotine or cocaine administration. These findings reinforce a critical role of ACh signaling capacity in both tonic and drug-modulated DA signaling and argue that genetically imposed reductions in CHT that lead to diminished DA signaling may lead to poor responses to reinforcing stimuli, possibly contributing to disorders linked to perturbed cholinergic signaling including depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
As an approach to elucidating dopamine transporter (DAT) phosphorylation characteristics, we examined in vitro phosphorylation of a recombinant rat DAT N-terminal peptide (NDAT) using purified protein kinases. We found that NDAT becomes phosphorylated at single distinct sites by protein kinase A (Ser-7) and calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (Ser-13) and at multiple sites (Ser-4, Ser-7, and Ser-13) by protein kinase C (PKC), implicating these residues as potential sites of DAT phosphorylation by these kinases. Mapping of rat striatal DAT phosphopeptides by two-dimensional thin layer chromatography revealed basal and PKC-stimulated phosphorylation of the same peptide fragments and comigration of PKC-stimulated phosphopeptide fragments with NDAT Ser-7 phosphopeptide markers. We further confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis and mass spectrometry that Ser-7 is a site for PKC-stimulated phosphorylation in heterologously expressed rat and human DATs. Mutation of Ser-7 and nearby residues strongly reduced the affinity of rat DAT for the cocaine analog (-)-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-fluorophenyl) tropane (CFT), whereas in rat striatal tissue, conditions that promote DAT phosphorylation caused increased CFT affinity. Ser-7 mutation also affected zinc modulation of CFT binding, with Ala and Asp substitutions inducing opposing effects. These results identify Ser-7 as a major site for basal and PKC-stimulated phosphorylation of native and expressed DAT and suggest that Ser-7 phosphorylation modulates transporter conformational equilibria, shifting the transporter between high and low affinity cocaine binding states.
The presynaptic dopamine (DA) transporter is responsible for DA inactivation following release and is a major target for the psychostimulants cocaine and amphetamine. Dysfunction and/or polymorphisms in human DAT (SLC6A3) have been associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Parkinson's disease, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Despite the clinical importance of DAT, many uncertainties remain regarding the transporter's regulation, in part due to the poor spatiotemporal resolution of conventional methodologies and the relative lack of efficient DAT-specific fluorescent probes. We developed a quantum dot-based labeling approach that uses a DAT-specific, biotinylated ligand, 2-β-carbomethoxy-3-β-(4-fluorophenyl)tropane (IDT444), that can be bound by streptavidin-conjugated quantum dots. Flow cytometry and confocal microscopy were used to detect DAT in stably and transiently transfected mammalian cells. IDT444 is useful for quantum-dot-based fluorescent assays to monitor DAT expression, function, and plasma membrane trafficking in living cells as evidenced by the visualization of acute, protein-kinase-C (PKC)-dependent DAT internalization.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed disorder of school-age children. Although genetic and brain-imaging studies suggest a contribution of altered dopamine (DA) signaling in ADHD, evidence of signaling perturbations contributing to risk is largely circumstantial. The presynaptic, cocaine- and amphetamine (AMPH)-sensitive DA transporter (DAT) constrains DA availability at presynaptic and postsynaptic receptors following vesicular release and is targeted by the most commonly prescribed ADHD therapeutics. Using polymorphism discovery approaches with an ADHD cohort, we identified a hDAT (human DAT) coding variant, R615C, located in the distal C terminus of the transporter, a region previously implicated in constitutive and regulated transporter trafficking. Here, we demonstrate that, whereas wild-type DAT proteins traffic in a highly regulated manner, DAT 615C proteins recycle constitutively and demonstrate insensitivity to the endocytic effects of AMPH and PKC (protein kinase C) activation. The disrupted regulation of DAT 615C parallels a redistribution of the transporter variant away from GM1 ganglioside- and flotillin1-enriched membranes, and is accompanied by altered CaMKII (calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II) and flotillin-1 interactions. Using C-terminal peptides derived from wild-type DAT and the R615C variant, we establish that the DAT 615C C terminus can act dominantly to preclude AMPH regulation of wild-type DAT. Mutagenesis of DAT C-terminal sequences suggests that phosphorylation of T613 may be important in sorting DAT between constitutive and regulated pathways. Together, our studies support a coupling of DAT microdomain localization with transporter regulation and provide evidence of perturbed DAT activity and DA signaling as a risk determinant for ADHD.
Animal studies suggest the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) plays an important role in decision-making. In rats, DA depletion decreases tolerance for effort and probability costs, while drugs enhancing DA increase tolerance for these costs. However, data regarding the effect of DA manipulations on effort and probability costs in humans remain scarce. The current study examined acute effects of d-amphetamine, an indirect DA agonist, on willingness of healthy human volunteers to exert effort for monetary rewards at varying levels of reward value and reward probability. Based on preclinical research, we predicted amphetamine would increase exertion of effort, particularly when reward probability was low. Over three sessions, 17 healthy normal adults received placebo, d-amphetamine 10 mg, and 20 mg under counterbalanced double-blind conditions and completed the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task. Consistent with predictions, amphetamine enhanced willingness to exert effort, particularly when reward probability was lower. Amphetamine did not alter effects of reward magnitude on willingness to exert effort. Amphetamine sped task performance, but its psychomotor effects were not strongly related to its effects on decision-making. This is the first demonstration in humans that dopaminergic manipulations alter willingness to exert effort for rewards. These findings help elucidate neurochemical substrates of choice, with implications for neuropsychiatric diseases characterized by dopaminergic dysfunction and motivational deficits.
BACKGROUND - Evidence suggests that the noradrenergic and corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) systems play critical roles in relapse and stress-related behaviors. In particular, behavioral studies point to a serial signaling process initiated by β-adrenergic receptors that requires CRF receptor (CRFR)-dependent signaling in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) to produce stress-induced relapse to cocaine seeking.
METHODS - We used whole cell patch clamp recordings from acutely prepared mouse brain slices to examine the actions of β-adrenergic receptors and CRFR1 on excitatory transmission in BNST. We examined the effects of agonists of these receptors in slices prepared from naive, sham, and cocaine-conditioned mice.
RESULTS - β(1)-adrenergic receptor activation within the BNST produces an enhancement of excitatory synaptic transmission that requires CRFR1-dependent signaling. We show that chronic cocaine administration transiently disrupts β(1)-adrenergic- and CRFR1-dependent enhancement of glutamatergic transmission, that this disruption wanes with time, and that it can be reintroduced with a cocaine challenge.
CONCLUSIONS - In total, these studies identify a circuit mechanism within the BNST that may play an important role in CRF- and norepinephrine-regulated behaviors.
Copyright © 2011 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.