Restoration of cocaine stimulation and reward by reintroducing wild type dopamine transporter in adult knock-in mice with a cocaine-insensitive dopamine transporter

Haiyin Wu, Brian O'Neill, Dawn D. Han, Keerthi Thirtamara-Rajamani, Yanlin Wang, Howard H. Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

In previous studies, we generated knock-in mice with a cocaine-insensitive dopamine transporter (DAT-CI mice) and found cocaine does not stimulate locomotion or produce reward in these mice, indicating DAT inhibition is necessary for cocaine stimulation and reward. However, DAT uptake is reduced in DAT-CI mice and thus the lack of cocaine responses could be due to adaptive changes. To test this, we used adeno-associated virus (AAV) to reintroduce the cocaine-sensitive wild type DAT (AAV-DATwt) back into adult DAT-CI mice, which restores cocaine inhibition of DAT in affected brain regions but does not reverse the adaptive changes. In an earlier study we showed that AAV-DATwt injections in regions covering the lateral nucleus accumbens (NAc) and lateral caudate-putamen (CPu) restored cocaine stimulation but not cocaine reward. In the current study, we expanded the AAV-DATwt infected areas to cover the olfactory tubercle (Tu) and the ventral midbrain (vMB) containing the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra (SN) in addition to CPu and NAc with multiple injections. These mice displayed the restoration of both locomotor stimulation and cocaine reward. We further found that AAV-DATwt injection in the vMB alone was sufficient to restore both cocaine stimulation and reward in DAT-CI mice. AAV injected in the VTA and SN resulted in DATwt expression and distribution to the DA terminal regions. In summary, cocaine induced locomotion and reward can be restored in fully developed DAT-CI mice, and cocaine inhibition of DAT expressed in dopaminergic neurons originated from the ventral midbrain mediates cocaine reward and stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalNeuropharmacology
Volume86
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Adeno-associated virus
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Locomotion
  • Reward

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