Induction of FosB/DeltaFosB in the brain stress system-related structures during morphine dependence and withdrawal (2010)

J Neurochem. 2010 Jul;114(2):475-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06765.x. Epub 2010 Apr 23.

Núñez C1, Martín F, Földes A, Luisa Laorden M, Kovács KJ, Victoria Milanés M.

  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University School of Medicine, Murcia, Spain. [email protected]


The transcription factor DeltaFosB is induced in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) by drugs of abuse. This study was designed to evaluate the possible modifications in FosB/DeltaFosB expression in both hypothalamic and extrahypothalamic brain stress system during morphine dependence and withdrawal.

Rats were made dependent on morphine and, on day 8, were injected with saline or naloxone. Using immunohistochemistry and western blot, the expression of FosB/DeltaFosB, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and pro-dynorphin (DYN) was measured in different nuclei from the brain stress system in morphine-dependent rats and after morphine withdrawal. Additionally, we studied the expression of FosB/DeltaFosB in CRF-, TH- and DYN-positive neurons. FosB/DeltaFosB was induced after chronic morphine administration in the parvocellular part of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), NAc-shell, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, central amygdala and A(2) noradrenergic part of the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS-A(2)). Morphine dependence and withdrawal evoked an increase in FosB/DeltaFosB-TH and FosB/DeltaFosB-CRF double labelling in NTS-A(2) and PVN, respectively, besides an increase in TH levels in NTS-A(2) and CRF expression in PVN.

These data indicate that neuroadaptation to addictive substances, observed as accumulation of FosB/DeltaFosB, is not limited to the reward circuits but may also manifest in other brain regions, such as the brain stress system, which have been proposed to be directly related to addiction.