Repeated cocaine exposure triggers adaptations in layer 5/6 glutamatergic neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) that promote behavioral sensitization and drug-seeking behavior. While suppression of metabotropic inhibitory signaling has been implicated in these behaviors, underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here, we show that Girk/K(IR)3 channels mediate most of the GABA(B) receptor (GABA(B)R)-dependent inhibition of layer 5/6 pyramidal neurons in the mPFC and that repeated cocaine suppresses this pathway. This adaptation was selective for GABA(B)R-dependent Girk signaling in layer 5/6 pyramidal neurons of the prelimbic cortex (PrLC) and involved a D₁/₅ dopamine receptor- and phosphorylation-dependent internalization of GABA(B)R and Girk channels. Persistent suppression of Girk signaling in layer 5/6 of the dorsal mPFC enhanced cocaine-induced locomotor activity and occluded behavioral sensitization. Thus, the cocaine-induced suppression of GABA(B)R-Girk signaling in layer 5/6 pyramidal neurons of the prelimbic cortex appears to represent an early adaptation critical for promoting addiction-related behavior.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.