A single exposure to amphetamine is sufficient to induce long-term behavioral, neuroendocrine, and neurochemical sensitization in rats

Louk J.M.J. Vanderschuren*, E. Donné Schmidt, Taco J. De Vries, Caroline A.P. Van Moorsel, Fred J.H. Tilders, Anton N.M. Schoffelmeer

*Corresponding author for this work

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Repeated treatment with psychostimulant drugs causes long-lasting behavioral sensitization and associated neuroadaptations. Although sensitization induced by a single psychostimulant exposure has also been reported, information on the behavioral and neurochemical consequences of a single psychostimulant exposure is sparse. Therefore, to evaluate whether behavioral sensitization evoked by single and repeated psychostimulant pretreatment regimens represent the same neurobiological phenomenon, the time-dependent expression of behavioral, neurochemical, and neuroendocrine sensitization after a single exposure to amphetamine was investigated in rats. A single exposure to amphetamine (5 mg/kg, i.p.) caused context- independent sensitization of the Iocomotor effects of amphetamine, which intensified over time. Thus, sensitization to amphetamine was marginal at 3 d after treatment and more evident after 1 week, whereas 3 weeks after treatment, profound sensitization, as well as cross-sensitization, to cocaine was observed. Amphetamine pretreatment caused an increase in the electrically evoked release of [3H]dopamine from nucleus accumbens, caudate putamen, and medial prefrontal cortex slices and of [14C]acetylcholine from accumbens and caudate slices. The hyperreactivity of dopaminergic nerve terminals appeared to parallel the development of locomotor sensitization, i.e., whereas hyperreactivity of accumbens dopaminergic terminals increased between 3 d and 3 weeks after treatment, the hyperreactivity of medial prefrontal dopaminergic terminals decreased. Pre-exposure to amphetamine also sensitized the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis response to amphetamine at 1 and 3 weeks, but not at 3 d after treatment. Because these data closely resemble those reported previously for repeated amphetamine pretreatment, it is concluded that a single exposure to amphetamine is sufficient to induce long- term behavioral, neurochemical, and neuroendocrine sensitization in rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9579-9586
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1999

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