Long-term changes in the cellular properties of neurons are known to be part of the mechanisms mediating both continued drug abuse and relapse in individuals who have been abstinent from drug use. However, this leaves open the question of what leads to the initiation and maintenance of drug use prior to the induction of sensitization from repeated drug use? One component of the answer to this question might lie in an individual's life history or prior experiences. Like drugs of abuse, expression of motivated behaviors will activate the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system. It would be of great importance to delineate the cellular processes related to neural plasticity following experience with motivated behaviors (e.g., sexual behavior). We discovered that prior sexual experience sensitizes the dopamine response to sexual interactions and also produces behavioral sensitization to the initial presentation of amphetamine in otherwise drug-naive animals. This latter process, termed 'cross-sensitization', is fundamental to understanding how an animal's life history can contribute to a predisposition to drug abuse. Because so little is known about the cellular mechanisms altered by experience in animals engaging in motivated behaviors, the long-term goal of this project is to compare at the cellular level the degree to which motivated behaviors and drugs of abuse have common (or discrepant) mechanisms of sensitization of dopamine pathways. There are three specific aims to this project.
The first aim will identify changes in proteins involved in dendritic remodeling as a function of sexual experience.
The second aim will pharmacologically dissect signaling pathways that underlie behavioral and neural morphological responses to sexual experience.
The final aim will pharmacologically identify signaling pathways key to the cross-sensitization of sexual experience to amphetamine-induced locomotor behavior. The experiments in this proposal are designed to distinguish those cellular pathways that mediate drug sensitization to the exclusion of sensitization processes important for normal motivated behaviors. The degree to which there are shared anatomical loci and cellular mechanisms between normal motivated behaviors and drug abuse will provide insight into risk factors for the initiation of drug use in humans and for the development of therapies for the treatment of addiction.
|Meitzen, John; Meisel, Robert L; Mermelstein, Paul G (2018) Sex Differences and the Effects of Estradiol on Striatal Function. Curr Opin Behav Sci 23:42-48|
|Micevych, Paul E; Meisel, Robert L (2017) Integrating Neural Circuits Controlling Female Sexual Behavior. Front Syst Neurosci 11:42|
|Been, Laura E; Moore, Kelsey M; Kennedy, Bruce C et al. (2016) Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor and Fragile X Signaling in a Female Model of Escalated Aggression. Biol Psychiatry 79:685-92|
|Peterson, Brittni M; Mermelstein, Paul G; Meisel, Robert L (2015) Impact of immersion oils and mounting media on the confocal imaging of dendritic spines. J Neurosci Methods 242:106-11|
|Zlebnik, Natalie E; Hedges, Valerie L; Carroll, Marilyn E et al. (2014) Chronic wheel running affects cocaine-induced c-Fos expression in brain reward areas in rats. Behav Brain Res 261:71-8|
|Staffend, Nancy A; Hedges, Valerie L; Chemel, Benjamin R et al. (2014) Cell-type specific increases in female hamster nucleus accumbens spine density following female sexual experience. Brain Struct Funct 219:2071-81|
|Been, L E; Hedges, V L; Vialou, V et al. (2013) ?JunD overexpression in the nucleus accumbens prevents sexual reward in female Syrian hamsters. Genes Brain Behav 12:666-72|
|Been, Laura E; Staffend, Nancy A; Tucker, Avery et al. (2013) Vesicular glutamate transporter 2 and tyrosine hydroxylase are not co-localized in Syrian hamster nucleus accumbens afferents. Neurosci Lett 550:41-5|
|Regier, Paul S; Carroll, Marilyn E; Meisel, Robert L (2012) Cocaine-induced c-Fos expression in rats selectively bred for high or low saccharin intake and in rats selected for high or low impulsivity. Behav Brain Res 233:271-9|
|Hedges, Valerie L; Ebner, Timothy J; Meisel, Robert L et al. (2012) The cerebellum as a target for estrogen action. Front Neuroendocrinol 33:403-11|
Showing the most recent 10 out of 26 publications