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Browsing by Subject "glutamate"

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  • Ojala, Katja (2010)
    Glutamate is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Glutamatergic neurotransmission plays a central role in the development and maintenance of drug addiction. Glutamate interacts with other neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the actions concerning addiction. During the development of drug addiction, plastic changes in the neuronal connections related to memory and learning occur for example in the amount of synapses and in the efficacy of their action. Glutamatergic AMPA receptor and especially its GluA1 subunit are thought to be included in the neurobiological mechanisms related to drug addiction. Compulsive drug craving and relapses to drug use after a period of abstinence are central problems among people suffering drug addiction. Conditioned place preference is a technique that is used to study motivational properties of drugs in experimental animals. The aim of this master's thesis was to examine the importance of glutamatergic AMPA receptor GluA1 subunit in the morphine-induced place preference and in its extinction and reinstatement behaviour. Locomotor activity of mice was studied during all the phases of experiment. Glutamatergic AMPA receptor GluA1 subunit-deficient (GluA1-/-) and their control (wildtype) mice, based on C57BL/6J mouse strain, were used in the experiments. During the conditioning phase, the mice were trained to associate the effects of morphine (20 mg/kg) with a specific environment. After conditioning, the extinction with morphine paired conditioning environment was assessed by giving saline (0,9 % NaCl solution) to mice. The extinction phase was followed by reinstatement test, in which mice were given morphine (20 mg/kg). The seeking of animals with morphine paired conditioning environment described drug-seeking during different phases of experiment. GluA1-/- mice were more hyperactive when placed in the testing environment compared to the wildtype mice. However, the morphine-induced locomotor activity did not differ between genotypes. Locomotor activity of both genotypes was sensitized equally in consequence of repeated morphine exposures. Morphine induced place preference in both genotypes. Furthermore, the extinction of morphine place preference happened in both genotypes. However, the results of reinstatement test differed partly between genotypes. The place preference was reinstated by morphine in wildtype mice, but not in GluA1-/- mice, when using repeated testing extinction method. Instead of place preference, wildtype mice exhibited place aversion, when extinction method was saline conditioning. As a result of these experiments, extinction method can have an impact on the results of reinstatement test and conclusions cannot be done on the importance of GluA1 subunit in morphine reinstatement. In conclusion, the results of place preference experiments support the conception that GluA1 subunit is not significant in morphine conditioning. However, based on these experiments, GluA1 subunit is not important in morphine extinction, as one might assume on the basis of literature. GluA1 subunit may have an importance in morphine reinstatement, although the results of reinstatement test were partly contradictory.