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      Neuroendocrine-Related Effects of Long-Term, ‘Binge’ Cocaine Administration: Diminished Individual Differences in Stress-Induced Corticosterone Response

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          Abstract

          Acute cocaine administration activates behavioral and neuroendocrine processes associated with the stress response. However, much less is known about the effects of chronic, long-term cocaine administration on neuroendocrine adaptations and individual vulnerability to stress. We hypothesized that chronic ‘binge’ cocaine administration may serve as a chronic pharmacological stressor leading to a hyperactivity of the stress-responsive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and alterations in its feedback mechanisms. In order to test this hypothesis, the effects of long-term (3 and 6 weeks) ‘binge’ pattern cocaine administration (3×15 mg/kg cocaine, i.p., daily, during the early phase of the light cycle) on body weight, adrenal gland weight, basal and stress-induced activity of the corticosterone (CORT) and basal plasma testosterone (T) levels were measured. Both 3 and 6 weeks ‘binge’ cocaine administration decreased body weight gain, increased the weight of adrenal glands and increased basal CORT levels. Plasma T levels were suppressed by both 3 and 6 weeks of cocaine treatment. No correlation was found between elevated CORT and low T levels at any time point. Neither chronic saline nor cocaine administration altered stress-induced CORT secretion. CORT levels 60 min following the restraint stress (recovery) were significantly lower than pre-stress basal levels after 3 and 6 weeks of cocaine, but not saline, administration. Moreover, initial individual differences in stress-induced CORT response, i.e. low and high responsivity to restraint prior to any saline or cocaine injections, were maintained in control rats but became diminished in cocaine-treated rats. These results indicate that chronic binge cocaine administration leads to sustained activation of the HPA axis and alters processes underlying individual vulnerability to stress.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Drug Abuse: Hedonic Homeostatic Dysregulation

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            Distinct mechanisms underlie activation of hypothalamic neurosecretory neurons and their medullary catecholaminergic afferents in categorically different stress paradigms.

            Intermittent electrical footshock induces c-fos expression in parvocellular neurosecretory neurons expressing corticotropin-releasing factor and in other visceromotor cell types of the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVH). Since catecholaminergic neurons of the nucleus of the solitary tract and ventrolateral medulla make up the dominant loci of footshock-responsive cells that project to the PVH, these were evaluated as candidate afferent mediators of hypothalamic neuroendocrine responses. Rats bearing discrete unilateral transections of this projection system were exposed to a single 30-min footshock session and sacrificed 2 hr later. Despite depletion of the aminergic innervation on the ipsilateral side, shock-induced up-regulation of Fos protein and corticotropin-releasing factor mRNA were comparable in strength and distribution in the PVH on both sides of the brain. This lesion did, however, result in a substantial reduction of Fos expression in medullary aminergic neurons on the ipsilateral side. These results contrast diametrically with those obtained in a systemic cytokine (interleukin 1) challenge paradigm, where similar cuts ablated the Fos response in the ipsilateral PVH but left intact the induction seen in the ipsilateral medulla. We conclude that (i) footshock-induced activation of medullary aminergic neurons is a secondary consequence of stress, mediated via a descending projection transected by our ablation, (ii) stress-induced activation of medullary aminergic neurons is not necessarily predictive of an involvement of these cell groups in driving hypothalamic visceromotor responses to a given stressor, and (iii) despite striking similarities in the complement of hypothalamic effector neurons and their afferents that may be activated by stresses of different types, distinct mechanisms may underlie adaptive hypothalamic responses in each.
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              Visible burrow system as a model of chronic social stress: Behavioral and neuroendocrine correlates

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NEN
                Neuroendocrinology
                10.1159/issn.0028-3835
                Neuroendocrinology
                S. Karger AG
                0028-3835
                1423-0194
                1998
                November 1998
                18 November 1998
                : 68
                : 5
                : 334-344
                Affiliations
                a Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, and b Laboratory of Biology of Addictive Diseases, The Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y., USA
                Article
                54382 Neuroendocrinology 1998;68:334–344
                10.1159/000054382
                9822801
                © 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, References: 57, Pages: 11
                Categories
                Stress and Feedback of Adrenal Steroids

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