GABAergic mRNA expression is upregulated in the prefrontal cortex of rats sensitized to methamphetamine

Travis A. Wearne, Lindsay M. Parker, Jane L. Franklin, Ann K. Goodchild, Jennifer L. Cornish*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-mediated neurotransmission plays an important role in the regulation of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), with increasing evidence suggesting that dysfunctional GABAergic processing of the PFC may underlie certain deficits reported across psychotic disorders. Methamphetamine (METH) is a psychostimulant that induces chronic psychosis in a subset of users, with repeat administration producing a progressively increased vulnerability to psychotic relapse following subsequent drug administration (sensitization). The aim here was to investigate changes to GABAergic mRNA expression in the PFC of rats sensitized to METH using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Male Sprague-Dawley rats (n=12) underwent repeated methamphetamine (intraperitoneal (i.p.) or saline injections for 7 days. Following 14 days of withdrawal, rats were challenged with acute methamphetamine (1mg/kg i.p.) and RNA was isolated from the PFC to compare the relative mRNA expression of a range of GABA enzymes, transporters and receptors subunits. METH challenge resulted in a significant sensitized behavioral (locomotor) response in METH pre-treated animals compared with saline pre-treated controls. The mRNAs of transporters (GAT1 and GAT3), ionotropic GABAA receptor subunits (α3 and β1), together with the metabotropic GABAB1 receptor, were upregulated in the PFC of sensitized rats compared with saline controls. These findings indicate that GABAergic mRNA expression is significantly altered at the pre and postsynaptic level following sensitization to METH, with sensitization resulting in the transcriptional upregulation of several inhibitory genes. These changes likely have significant consequences on GABA-mediated neurotransmission in the PFC and may underlie certain symptoms conserved across psychotic disorders, such as executive dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume297
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Psychosis
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Methamphetamine
  • GABA
  • Gene expression sensitization
  • GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC-ACID
  • INDUCED BEHAVIORAL SENSITIZATION
  • LONG-TERM ABSTINENCE
  • GABA(A) RECEPTORS
  • PROTEIN EXPRESSION
  • NUCLEUS-ACCUMBENS
  • PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIA
  • GAD(67) EXPRESSION
  • PSYCHOTIC SYMPTOMS
  • COGNITIVE CONTROL

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