Social rank-Associated stress vulnerability predisposes individuals to cocaine attraction

Chen Yanovich, Michael L. Kirby, Izhak Michaelevski, Gal Yadid, Albert Pinhasov

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23 Scopus citations


Studies of personality have suggested that dissimilarities in ability to cope with stressful situations results in differing tendency to develop addictive behaviors. The present study used selectively bred stress-resilient, socially-dominant (Dom) and stress-vulnerable, socially-submissive (Sub) mice to investigate the interaction between environmental stress and inbred predisposition to develop addictive behavior to cocaine. In a Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) paradigm using cocaine, Sub mice displayed an aversion to drug, whereas Dom mice displayed drug attraction. Following a 4-week regimen of Chronic Mild Stress (CMS), Sub mice in CPP displayed a marked increase (>400%) in cocaine attraction, whereas Dom mice did not differ in attraction from their non-stressed state. Examination of hippocampal gene expression revealed in Sub mice, exposure to external stimuli, stress or cocaine, increased CRH expression (>100%), which was evoked in Dom mice only by cocaine exposure. Further, stress-induced decreases in DRD1 (>60%) and DRD2 (>50%) expression in Sub mice differed markedly from a complete lack of change in Dom mice. From our findings, we propose that social stratification dictates vulnerability to stress-induced attraction that may lead to addiction via differential regulation of hippocampal response to dopaminergic input, which in turn may influence differing tendency to develop addictive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1759
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 29 Jan 2018

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© The Author(s) 2018.


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