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Systemic Delivery of a Brain-Penetrant TrkB Antagonist Reduces Cocaine Self-Administration and Normalizes TrkB Signaling in the Nucleus Accumbens and Prefrontal Cortex.

Systemic Delivery of a Brain-Penetrant TrkB Antagonist Reduces Cocaine Self-Administration and Normalizes TrkB Signaling in the Nucleus Accumbens and Prefrontal Cortex.
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Verheij MM, Vendruscolo LF, Caffino L, Giannotti G, Cazorla M, Fumagalli F, Riva MA, Homberg JR, Koob GF, Contet C,


Verheij MM, Vendruscolo LF, Caffino L, Giannotti G, Cazorla M, Fumagalli F, Riva MA, Homberg JR, Koob GF, Contet C, (click to view)

Verheij MM, Vendruscolo LF, Caffino L, Giannotti G, Cazorla M, Fumagalli F, Riva MA, Homberg JR, Koob GF, Contet C,

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The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 36(31) 8149-59 doi 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2711-14.2016

Abstract
UNLABELLED
Cocaine exposure alters brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the brain. BDNF signaling through TrkB receptors differentially modulates cocaine self-administration, depending on the brain regions involved. In the present study, we determined how brain-wide inhibition of TrkB signaling affects cocaine intake, the motivation for the drug, and reinstatement of drug taking after extinction. To overcome the inability of TrkB ligands to cross the blood-brain barrier, the TrkB antagonist cyclotraxin-B was fused to the nontoxic transduction domain of the tat protein from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (tat-cyclotraxin-B). Intravenous injection of tat-cyclotraxin-B dose-dependently reduced cocaine intake, motivation for cocaine (as measured under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement), and reinstatement of cocaine taking in rats allowed either short or long access to cocaine self-administration. In contrast, the treatment did not affect operant responding for a highly palatable sweet solution, demonstrating that the effects of tat-cyclotraxin-B are specific for cocaine reinforcement. Cocaine self-administration increased TrkB signaling and activated the downstream Akt pathway in the nucleus accumbens, and had opposite effects in the prefrontal cortex. Pretreatment with tat-cyclotraxin-B normalized protein levels in these two dopamine-innervated brain regions. Cocaine self-administration also increased TrkB signaling in the ventral tegmental area, where the dopaminergic projections originate, but pretreatment with tat-cyclotraxin-B did not alter this effect. Altogether, our data show that systemic administration of a brain-penetrant TrkB antagonist leads to brain region-specific effects and may be a potential pharmacological strategy for the treatment of cocaine addiction.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling through TrkB receptors plays a well established role in cocaine reinforcement. However, local manipulation of BDNF signaling yields divergent effects, depending on the brain region, thereby questioning the viability of systemic TrkB targeting for the treatment of cocaine use disorders. Our study provides first-time evidence that systemic administration of a brain-penetrant TrkB antagonist (tat-cyclotraxin-B) reduces several behavioral measures of cocaine dependence, without altering motor performance or reinforcement by a sweet palatable solution. In addition, although cocaine self-administration produced opposite effects on TrkB signaling in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex, tat-cyclotraxin-B administration normalized these cocaine-induced changes in both brain regions.

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