Exogenous brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) can regulate behavioral sensitization and conditioned place preference (CPP) when animals are exposed to repeated cocaine administration. However, it is unclear whether BDNF signaling through the TrkB receptor can mediate these behavioral responses when animals are given a single cocaine exposure. Because TrkB knockout mice die as neonates, we engineered a transgenic mouse that expressed a dominant negative form of TrkB (dnTrkB) in a conditional and reversible manner. We assessed also activation of endogenous TrkB by quantifying levels of phosphorylated TrkB (p-TrkB) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). We found that a single exposure to cocaine was sufficient to increase p-TrkB within the NAc 9-12. h after administration. Expression of the dnTrkB transgene not only prevented the acute cocaine-induced increase in p-TrkB, but it also prevented behavioral sensitization and CPP following a single cocaine injection. These findings demonstrate that TrkB activation is required both for behavioral sensitization and CPP to a single cocaine exposure. The fact that enhanced TrkB activation is induced within 9. h of a single injection of cocaine suggests that inhibition of TrkB signaling commencing hours after cocaine exposure may prevent at least the initial antecedents to the sensitizing and reinforcing effects of this psychostimulant.
- Behavioral sensitization
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
- Conditioned place preference
- Transgenic mice
- TrkB receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience