Stimulation of mGluR2/3 receptors precipitates nicotine withdrawal in rats: role of mGluR5 and NMDA receptors

Cory Wright
California State University, Long Beach
Elevations in brain stimulation reward (BSR) thresholds have been observed in rats undergoing nicotine withdrawal and have been proposed as a sensitive measure of the negative affective state associated with nicotine withdrawal. mGluR are presynaptic autoreceptors that decrease glutamate release when stimulated. The aim of this study was to examine the role of glutamate neurotransmission in nicotine dependence. The mGluR agonist LY314582 (2.5–7.5 mg/kg) precipitated nicotine withdrawal as measured by elevations in BSR thresholds in nicotine-treated rats but not in controls. It was hypothesized that LY314582 precipitated nicotine withdrawal by decreasing glutamatergic tone at postsynaptic glutamate receptors. Therefore, the effects of MPEP (0.5–2 mg/kg), an mGluR antagonist, and MK-801 (0.01–1 mg/kg), an NMDA receptor antagonist, were examined. MPEP elevated BSR thresholds by an equal magnitude in control and nicotine-treated rats. At low doses, MK-801 (0.01–0.2 mg/kg) lowered BSR thresholds to a similar extent in control and nicotine-treated rats. At higher doses, MK-801 (0.25–1 mg/kg) disrupted performance in nicotine-treated and control rats. These data indicate that mGluR and NMDA receptors regulate BSR in opposite directions in non-dependent animals, and chronic nicotine treatment does not alter these effects. Most importantly, the data demonstrate that the mGluR is involved in nicotine dependence, but mGluR and NMDA receptors do not mediate mGluR actions in nicotine dependence.
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