Repeated cocaine administration alters the electrophysiological properties of prefrontal cortical neurons

Neuroscience. 2002;113(4):749-53. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(02)00246-4.


Recently it has become clear that some of the symptoms of addiction such as relapse to drug-taking behavior arise, in part, from a dysfunction in cognitive and emotional processing. This realization has promoted investigations into the physiology and pathophysiology of forebrain circuits that are both innervated by dopamine and play an important role in cognitive processing, including the prefrontal cortex. In order to study long-term neuroadaptations occurring in the prefrontal cortex of the rat as a consequence of psychostimulant administration, cocaine was repeatedly administered in either a contingent or a non-contingent manner. At least 2 weeks following the last cocaine injection, in vivo intracellular recordings were made from neurons located in the deep layers of the prefrontal cortex. Repeated cocaine administration abolished the presence of membrane bistability normally present in neurons located in the limbic prefrontal cortex. These results indicate that repeated exposure to cocaine produces enduring changes in the basal activity of neurons in the prefrontal cortex that may contribute to previously identify cognitive and emotional dysfunctions in cocaine addicts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects*
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Electrophysiology
  • Male
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / drug effects
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Cocaine