Decrease of glycogen synthase kinase 3β phosphorylation in the rat nucleus accumbens shell is necessary for amphetamineinduced conditioned locomotor activity

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2022 Jan 1;26(1):59-65. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2022.26.1.59.


Phosphorylation levels of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) negatively correlated with psychomotor stimulant-induced locomotor activity. Locomotor sensitization induced by psychomotor stimulants was previously shown to selectively accompany the decrease of GSK3β phosphorylation in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) core, suggesting that intact GSK3β activity in this region is necessary for psychomotor stimulants to produce locomotor sensitization. Similarly, GSK3β in the NAcc was also implicated in mediating the conditioned effects formed by the associations of psychomotor stimulants. However, it remains undetermined whether GSK3β plays a differential role in the two sub-regions (core and shell) of the NAcc in the expression of drug-conditioned behaviors. In the present study, we found that GSK3β phosphorylation was significantly lower in the NAcc shell obtained from rats expressing amphetamine (AMPH)-induced conditioned locomotor activity. Further, we demonstrated that these effects were normalized by treatment with lithium chloride, a GSK3β inhibitor. These results suggest that the behavior produced by AMPH itself and a conditioned behavior formed by associations with AMPH are differentially mediated by the two sub-regions of the NAcc.

Keywords: Amphetamine; Classical conditioning; GSK3beta; Lithium chloride; Nucleus accumbens.