3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) acts as a dopamine transporter blocker and exerts powerful psychostimulant effects. In this study we aimed to investigate the bidirectional cross-sensitization between MDPV and cocaine, as well as to evaluate the role of the BDNF-TrkB signaling pathway in the development of locomotor sensitization to both drugs. Mice were treated with MDPV (1.5 mg/kg) or cocaine (10 or 15 mg/kg) once daily for 5 days. After withdrawal (10 days), animals were challenged with cocaine (8 mg/kg) or MDPV (1 mg/kg). For biochemical determinations, MDPV (1.5 mg/kg) or cocaine (15 mg/kg) were administered acutely or repeatedly, and BDNF, D3R and G9a transcription levels as well as pro- and mature BDNF protein levels were determined. Our results demonstrate that repeated administration of MDPV or cocaine sensitizes to cocaine and MDPV locomotor effects. After an acute or a repeated exposure to MDPV, cortical mRNA BDNF levels were increased, while a decrease in mBDNF protein levels in the nucleus accumbens 2 h after repeated exposure was evidenced. Interestingly, such decline was involved in the development of locomotor sensitization, thus the pretreatment with 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (10 mg/kg), a TrkB agonist, blocked the development of sensitization to MDPV but not to cocaine, for which no changes in the BDNF-TrkB signaling pathway were observed at early withdrawal. In conclusion, a bidirectional cross-sensitization between MDPV and cocaine was evidenced. Our findings suggest that decreased BDNF-TrkB signaling has an important role in the behavioral sensitization to MDPV, pointing TrkB modulation as a target to prevent MDPV sensitization.
Keywords: 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone; BDNF; Cocaine; MDPV; Sensitization.
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