The neural adaptations involved in initiating and maintaining the long-term consequences of utilizing drugs of abuse are the subject of intense investigation. It is commonly suggested that the neural plasticity mechanisms underlying physiological phenomena such as learning and memory may also be engaged when drug addiction occurs. The effect of cocaine on one prominent cellular mechanism for learning/memory, long-term potentiation (LTP), was assessed in the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus. Hippocampal slices obtained from animals treated in vivo for five days with cocaine (15 mg/kg i.p., daily) exhibited enhanced LTP vs saline treated controls. We suggest that this example of cocaine-induced enhancement of LTP provides an example of how synaptic plasticity mechanisms may be altered in a manner that contributes to the behavioral outcomes expressed, following exposure to psychostimulants.
- Sensitization: Hippocampus
- Synaptic plasticity