Altered glutamatergic transmission in the striatum may be implicated in behavioral sensitization to repeated amphetamine (AMPH) administration. Quantitative in situ hybridization histochemistry was performed to define the effects of acute and chronic AMPH exposures on mRNA expression of Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in the striatum. Behavioral ratings indicated that the motor activity of rats was significantly higher after the final of five daily AMPH injections (4 mg/kg, i.p.) than that after the first of five daily AMPH, indicative of the development of behavioral sensitization. Moreover, the motor activity of rats treated with five daily AMPH was significantly greater than that of rats treated with five daily saline in response to a 2 mg/kg challenge dose of AMPH 7, 14, 28, and 60 days after the discontinuation of drug treatments, indicative of the persistent expression of behavioral sensitization. Three hours after acute administration of AMPH to naive rats, mGluR1 and mGluR5 mRNA expression in the dorsal (caudatoputamen) and ventral (nucleus accumbens) striatum showed no change as compared to acute saline injection. In rats that developed behavioral sensitization to repeated AMPH, mGluR1 levels in the dorsal and ventral striatum were increased by 53% and 43%, respectively, 3 h after the final AMPH treatment. However, this change did not persist during withdrawal since it was not observed 7, 14, and 28 days after the discontinuation of AMPH treatment. Conversely, mGluR5 levels were markedly reduced 3 h after the final of five daily AMPH treatments in the entire striatum of sensitized rats (34% and 77% of controls in the dorsal and ventral striatum, respectively). The reduction persisted at 7, 14, and 28 days of withdrawal. These results reveal a close linkage between striatal Group I mGluR gene expression and behavioral sensitization to AMPH. This may indicate functional implications of the two subtypes of Group I mGluRs in the regulation of behavioral sensitization to the dopamine stimulant.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.