Objective: To investigate the changes in CREB (cAMP response element binding protein) in hippocampus, PFC (prefrontal cortex) and NAc (nucleus accumbens) during three phases of morphine induced CPP (conditioned place preference) in rats, and to elucidate the role of CREB during the progress of conditioned place preference.
Methods: Morphine induced CPP acquisition, extinction and drug primed reinstatement model was established, and CREB expression in each brain area was measured by Western Blot methods.
Results: Eight alternating injections of morphine (10 mg/kg) induced CPP, and 8 d saline extinction training that extinguished CPP. CPP was reinstated following a priming injection of morphine (2.5 mg/kg). During the phases of CPP acquisition and reinstatement, the level of CREB expression was significantly changed in different brain areas.
Conclusion: It was proved that CPP model can be used as an effective tool to investigate the mechanisms underlying drug-induced reinstatement of drug seeking after extinction, and that morphine induced CPP and drug primed reinstatement may involve activation of the transcription factor CREB in several brain areas, suggesting that the CREB and its target gene regulation pathway may mediate the basic mechanism underlying opioid dependence and its drug seeking behavior.