Inhibition of neuronal nitric oxide synthase suppresses the maintenance but not the induction of psychomotor sensitization to MDMA ('Ecstasy') and p-chloroamphetamine in mice

Karen L. Anderson, Yossef Itzhak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Repeated exposure to psychostimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines results in behavioral sensitization, a paradigm thought to be relevant to drug craving and addiction in humans. We have previously shown that the induction, expression, and maintenance of psychomotor sensitization to cocaine, methamphetamine, and methylphenidate (indirect dopamine agonists) are blocked by co-administration of the neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) inhibitor 7-nitroindazole (7-NI). In the present study, we investigated the effects of 7-NI on the induction, expression, and maintenance of psychomotor sensitization to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; 'Ecstasy') and p-chloroamphetamine (PCA). The following observations are reported: (a) Repeated administration of MDMA (10mg/kg) and PCA (5mg/kg) to Swiss Webster mice for six consecutive days caused a 3-fold increase in the psychomotor stimulating effect of the drugs on day 6 compared to day 1. (b) Pretreatment with 7-NI (25mg/kg) did not affect the induction and expression of sensitization to MDMA and PCA. (c) Pretreatment with 7-NI did, however, suppress the enduring sensitized response to challenge injections of MDMA and PCA which was observed in mice pretreated with vehicle instead of 7-NI. (d) Unlike other psychostimulants, MDMA and PCA treatment did not produce conditioned (context-dependent) hyperlocomotion. These findings, coupled with our previous studies, suggest the following: (a) The induction and expression of psychomotor sensitization to MDMA and PCA are independent of nNOS activity and involve primarily serotonergic transmission. (b) The maintenance of psychomotor sensitization is dependent on intact nNOS activity and involves primarily dopaminergic transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalNitric Oxide - Biology and Chemistry
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Keywords

  • Cocaine
  • Condition locomotion
  • Hyperlocomotion
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methylphenidate
  • Psychostimulants
  • Sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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