Addictive drugs, including opioids, modulate adult neurogenesis. In order to delineate the probable implications of neurogenesis on contextual memory associated with addiction, we investigated opioid agonist-selective regulation of neurogenic differentiation 1 (NeuroD) activities under the conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm. Training mice with equivalent doses of morphine and fentanyl produced different CPP extinction rates without measurable differences in the CPP acquisition rate or magnitude. Fentanyl-induced CPP required much longer time for extinction than morphine-induced CPP. We observed a parallel decrease in NeuroD activities and neurogenesis after morphine-induced CPP, but not after fentanyl-induced CPP. Increasing NeuroD activities with NeuroD-lentivirus (nd-vir) injection at the dentate gyrus before CPP training reversed morphine-induced decreases in NeuroD activities and neurogenesis, and prolonged the time required for extinction of morphine-induced CPP. On the other hand, decreasing NeuroD activities via injection of miRNA-190-virus (190-vir) reversed the fentanyl effect on NeuroD and neurogenesis and shortened the time required for extinction of fentanyl-induced CPP. Another contextual memory task, the Morris Water Maze (MWM), was affected similarly by alteration of NeuroD activities. The reduction in NeuroD activities either by morphine treatment or 190-vir injection decreased MWM task retention, while the increase in NeuroD activities by nd-vir prolonged MWM task retention. Thus, by controlling NeuroD activities, opioid agonists differentially regulate adult neurogenesis and subsequent contextual memory retention. Such drug-related memory regulation could have implications in eventual context-associated relapse.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31100773), the ‘Guangzhou International Science and Technology Cooperation Projects from Bureau of Science and Information Technology of Guangzhou Municipal Government (2012J5100007)’, the ‘Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (S2012010010087)’, and the NIH grants DA031442, DA023905 and DA011806.
- NeuroD activity
- adult neurogenesis
- agonist-selective signaling
- contextual memory