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TitleActivation of lateral hypothalamic group III metabotropic glutamate receptors suppresses cocaine-seeking following abstinence and normalizes drug-associated increases in excitatory drive to orexin/hypocretin cells.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsYeoh, Jiann W., Morgan H. James, Cameron D. Adams, Jaideep S. Bains, Takeshi Sakurai, Gary Aston-Jones, Brett A. Graham, and Christopher V. Dayas
Date Published2018 Sep 22

The perifornical/lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) orexin (hypocretin) system is involved in drug-seeking behavior elicited by drug-associated stimuli. Cocaine exposure is associated with presynaptic plasticity at LHA orexin cells such that excitatory input to orexin cells is enhanced acutely and into withdrawal. These changes may augment orexin cell reactivity to drug-related cues during abstinence and contribute to relapse-like behavior. Studies in hypothalamic slices from drug-naïve animals indicate that agonism of group III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) reduces presynaptic glutamate release onto orexin cells. Therefore, we examined the group III mGluR system as a potential target to reduce orexin cell excitability in-vivo, including in animals with cocaine experience. First, we verified that group III mGluRs regulate orexin cell activity in behaving animals by showing that intra-LHA infusions of the selective agonist L-(+)-2-Amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (L-AP4) reduces c-fos expression in orexin cells following 24 h food deprivation. Next, we extended these findings to show that intra-LHA L-AP4 infusions reduced discriminative stimulus-driven cocaine-seeking following withdrawal. Importantly, L-AP4 had no effect on lever pressing for sucrose pellets or general motoric behavior. Finally, using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from identified orexin cells in orexin-GFP transgenic mice, we show enhanced presynaptic drive to orexin cells following 14d withdrawal and that this plasticity can be normalized by L-AP4. Together, these data indicate that activation of group III mGluRs in LHA reduces orexin cell activity in vivo and may be an effective strategy to suppress cocaine-seeking behavior following withdrawal. These effects are likely mediated, at least in part, by normalization of presynaptic plasticity at orexin cells that occurs as a result of cocaine exposure.

Alternate JournalNeuropharmacology
PubMed ID30253175