PPARγ activation attenuates opioid consumption and modulates mesolimbic dopamine transmission.

de Guglielmo G, Melis M, De Luca MA, Kallupi M, Li HW, Niswender K, Giordano A, Senzacqua M, Somaini L, Cippitelli A, Gaitanaris G, Demopulos G, Damadzic R, Tapocik J, Heilig M, Ciccocioppo R
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 40 (4): 927-37

PMID: 25311134 · PMCID: PMC4330506 · DOI:10.1038/npp.2014.268

PPARγ is one of the three isoforms identified for the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) and is the receptor for the thiazolidinedione class of anti-diabetic medications including pioglitazone. PPARγ has been long studied for its role in adipogenesis and glucose metabolism, but the discovery of the localization in ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons opens new vistas for a potential role in the regulation of reward processing and motivated behavior in drug addiction. Here, we demonstrate that activation of PPARγ by pioglitazone reduces the motivation for heroin and attenuates its rewarding properties. These effects are associated with a marked reduction of heroin-induced increase in phosphorylation of DARPP-32 protein in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and with a marked and selective reduction of acute heroin-induced elevation of extracellular dopamine (DA) levels in the NAc shell, as measured by in vivo microdialysis. Through ex vivo electrophysiology in acute midbrain slices, we also show that stimulation of PPARγ attenuates opioid-induced excitation of VTA DA neurons via reduction of presynaptic GABA release from the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg). Consistent with this finding, site-specific microinjection of pioglitazone into the RMTg but not into the VTA reduced heroin taking. Our data illustrate that activation of PPARγ may represent a new pharmacotherapeutic option for the treatment of opioid addiction.

MeSH Terms (23)

Anilides Animals Conditioning, Operant Dopamine Dopaminergic Neurons gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Heroin Hypoglycemic Agents Male Mice, Transgenic Morphine Narcotics Nucleus Accumbens Pioglitazone PPAR gamma Prefrontal Cortex Rats Rats, Wistar Self Administration Synaptic Transmission Thiazolidinediones Time Factors Ventral Tegmental Area

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