Dehydroepiandrosterone Attenuates Cocaine-Seeking Behaviour Independently of Corticosterone Fluctuations

R. Maayan, L. Hirsh, G. Yadid, A. Weizman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The neurosteroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is involved in the pathophysiology of several psychiatric disorders, including cocaine addiction. We have previously shown that DHEA attenuates cocaine-seeking behaviour, and also that DHEA decreases corticosterone (CORT) levels in plasma and the prefrontal cortex. Previous studies have found that rats demonstrate cocaine-seeking behaviour only when the level of CORT reaches a minimum threshold. In the present study, we investigated whether the attenuating effect of DHEA on cocaine seeking is a result of it reducing CORT levels rather than a result of any unique neurosteroid properties. Rats received either daily DHEA injections (2 mg/kg, i.p.) alone, daily DHEA (2 mg/kg, i.p.) with CORT infusion (to maintain stable basal levels of CORT; 15 mg/kg, s.c.) or vehicle (i.p.) as control, throughout self-administration training and extinction sessions. We found that both DHEA-treated and DHEA + CORT-treated groups showed a significantly lower number of active lever presses compared to controls throughout training and extinction sessions, as well as at cocaine-primed reinstatement. DHEA-treated rats showed lower CORT levels throughout the experimental phases compared to DHEA + CORT-treated and control rats. Additionally, we show that DHEA administered to cocaine-trained rats throughout extinction sessions, or immediately before reinstatement, attenuated cocaine seeking. These findings indicate that DHEA attenuates cocaine-seeking behaviour independently of fluctuations in CORT levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-826
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Volume27
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 British Society for Neuroendocrinology.

Keywords

  • Cocaine self-administration
  • Corticosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone

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