Many studies have demonstrated that negative allosteric modulators (NAM) of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) reduce cocaine and methamphetamine seeking in extinction-reinstatement animal models of addiction. Less is known about effects of mGlu5 NAMs in abstinence models, particularly for methamphetamine. We used the incubation of drug craving model, in which cue-induced craving progressively intensifies after withdrawal from drug self-administration, to conduct the first studies of the following aspects of mGlu5 function in the rat nucleus accumbens (NAc) core during abstinence from methamphetamine self-administration: 1) functionality of the major form of synaptic depression in NAc medium spiny neurons, which is induced postsynaptically via mGlu5 and expressed presynaptically via cannabinoid type 1 receptors (CB1Rs), 2) mGlu5 surface expression and physical associations between mGlu5, Homer proteins, and diacylglycerol lipase-α, and 3) the effect of systemic and intra-NAc core administration of the mGlu5 NAM 3-((2-methyl-4-)ethynyl)pyridine (MTEP) on expression of incubated methamphetamine craving. We found that mGlu5/CB1R-dependent synaptic depression was lost during the rising phase of methamphetamine incubation but then recovered, in contrast to its persistent impairment during the plateau phase of incubation of cocaine craving. Furthermore, whereas the cocaine-induced impairment was accompanied by reduced mGlu5 levels and mGlu5-Homer associations, this was not the case for methamphetamine. Systemic MTEP reduced incubated methamphetamine seeking, but also reduced inactive hole nose-pokes and locomotion, while intra-NAc core MTEP had no significant effects. These findings provide the first insight into the role of mGlu5 in the incubation of methamphetamine craving and reveal differences from incubation of cocaine craving.
Keywords: Incubation; Methamphetamine; Nucleus accumbens; Rat; Synaptic depression; mGlu5.
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