Expression and Colocalization of NMDA Receptor and FosB/ΔFosB in Sensitive Brain Regions in Rats after Chronic Morphine Exposure (2015)

Neurosci Lett. 2015 Dec 3. pii: S0304-3940(15)30290-1. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2015.11.052

Zhang Q1, Liu Q2, Li T2, Liu Y2, Wang L3, Zhang Z4, Liu H4, Hu M5, Qiao Y6, Niu H7.


Research in the last decade demonstrated that the NMDA receptor (NMDAR) has an important role in opiate-induced neural and behavioral plasticity. In addition, increased levels of FosB-like proteins (FosB/ΔFosB) were found to be related to morphine withdrawal behaviors. However, the relationship between NMDAR and FosB/ΔFosB in sensitive brain regions during morphine withdrawal is largely unknown. In this study, we aimed to investigate NMDAR dynamics and FosB/ΔFosB levels in multiple brain regions and whether they are related in sensitive brain regions during morphine abstinence. Quantitative immunohistochemistry was adopted to test NMDAR and FosB/ΔfosB levels during morphine withdrawal in rats. Increased NMDAR and FosB/ΔFosB levels were found in the nucleus accumbens core (AcbC), nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh), central amygdaloid nucleuscapsular part (CeC), ventral tegmental area (VTA) and cingulate cortex (Cg). Double-immunofluorescence labeling indicated that NMDAR colocalized with Fos/ΔFosB in these five regions. These results suggest that multiple phenotypic regions are mediated by NMDAR and Fos/ΔFosB during morphine withdrawal, such as the motivational (AcbC, AcbSh), limbic (CeC, VTA) and executive (Cg) system pathways, and may be the primary targets of NMDAR and Fos/ΔfosB that impact morphine withdrawal behaviors.

KEYWORDS: FosB proteins; NMDA receptor; limbic system; morphine; withdrawal