In comparison to men, women initiate drug use at earlier ages and progress from initial use to addiction more rapidly. This heightened intake and vulnerability to drugs of abuse is regulated in part by estradiol, although the signaling mechanisms by which this occurs are not well understood. Recent findings indicate that within the nucleus accumbens core, estradiol induces structural plasticity via membrane-localized estrogen receptor _, functionally coupled to metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGluR5). Hence, we sought to determine whether mGluR5 activation was essential for estradiolmediated enhancement of cocaine self-administration. Ovariectomized (OVX) female rats were allowed to freely selfadminister cocaine under extended access conditions (6 h/d) for 10 consecutive days. The mGluR5 antagonist 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)pyridine hydrochloride (MPEP) or vehicle was administered before estradiol (or oil), on a 2 d on/2 d off schedule throughout the extended access period. MPEP treatment prevented the estradiol-dependent enhancement of cocaine self-administration in OVX females. In a separate experiment, potentiation of mGluR5 function with the positive allosteric modulator 3-cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide (in the absence of estradiol treatment) failed to increase cocaine self-administration. These data suggest that mGluR5 activation is necessary for estradiol-mediated enhancement of responses to cocaine, but that direct mGluR5 activation is insufficient to mimic the female response to estradiol. Building on previous studies in male animals, these findings further highlight the therapeutic potential of mGluR5 antagonism in the treatment of addiction and suggest that there may be added therapeutic benefit in females.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 Martinez et al.
- Drug addiction
- Nucleus accumbens