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      Salt Appetite in Sodium-Depleted or Sodium-Replete Conditions: Possible Role of Opioid Receptors

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          Background/Aims: Acute sodium depletion by the combination of pharmacological natriuresis via furosemide administration and a sodium-deficient diet results in a strong induction of salt appetite in rats. Recent evidence suggests that acute furosemide decreases both dopamine uptake and striatal dopamine transporter density and increases enkephalin mRNA levels in the nucleus accumbens (Acb). Therefore, it has been hypothesized that the motivational/attentional circuit in the brain is activated in salt-appetitive rats. Methods: To determine which loci along the dopaminergic circuit are responsible for this behavior, 10–15 min before furosemide-treated adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were allowed 2-hour access to 2% salt solution (2-bottle choice), we pharmacologically blocked dopamine receptor subtype 1 (D1r) and subtype 2 (D2r) with SCH23390 or raclopride, respectively, and stimulated D1r with SKF81297 or D2r with quinpirole in the shell of the Acb (AcbSh). Furthermore, delta opioid receptors were blocked with naltrindole in the AcbSh or ventral tegmental area (VTA). Results: We found that microinjections (1 µg) of SCH23390, raclopride, SKF81297, quinpirole, or naltrindole into the AcbSh had no effect. However, infusion of naltrindole into the VTA attenuated salt intake, whereas [D-Ser<sup>2</sup>,Leu<sup>5</sup>,Thr<sup>6</sup>]-enkephalin had no effect. Additionally, in rats previously primed with furosemide to crave salt in a ‘need-free’ manner, salt intake was augmented in the VTA and reduced in the AcbSh after infusion of [D-Ser<sup>2</sup>,Leu<sup>5</sup>,Thr<sup>6</sup>]-enkephalin. Conclusion: These data provide evidence that mesolimbic opioid systems are involved in the facilitation of salt-appetitive behavior.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Opioid modulation of taste hedonics within the ventral striatum.

          There is a long-standing interest in the role of endogenous opioid peptides in feeding behavior and, in particular, in the modulation of food reward and palatability. Since drugs such as heroin, morphine, alcohol, and cannabinoids, interact with this system, there may be important common neural substrates between food and drug reward with regard to the brain's opioid systems. In this paper, we review the proposed functional role of opioid neurotransmission and mu opiate receptors within the nucleus accumbens and surrounding ventral striatum. Opioid compounds, particularly those selective for the mu receptor, induce a potent increase in food intake, sucrose, salt, saccharin, and ethanol intake. We have explored this phenomenon with regard to macronutrient selection, regional specificity, role of output structures, Fos mapping, analysis of motivational state, and enkephalin gene expression. We hypothesize that opioid-mediated mechanisms within ventral striatal medium spiny neurons mediate the affective or hedonic response to food ('liking' or food 'pleasure'). A further refinement of this hypothesis is that activation of ventral striatal opioids specifically encodes positive affect induced by tasty and/or calorically dense foods (such as sugar and fat), and promotes behaviors associated with this enhanced palatability. It is proposed that this brain mechanism was beneficial in evolutionary development for ensuring the consumption of relatively scarce, high-energy food sources. However, in modern times, with unlimited supplies of high-calorie food, it has contributed to the present epidemic of obesity.
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            Specificity in the efferent projections of the nucleus accumbens in the rat: comparison of the rostral pole projection patterns with those of the core and shell.

             Daniel Zahm,  L Heimer (1993)
            The efferent connections of the rostral pole of the rat accumbens, where distinct core and shell subterritories can not be identified, were examined with the aid of the anterogradely transported plant lectin, Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin (PHA-L), for comparison with the previously reported projection patterns of the accumbal core and shell. Injection sites and transported PHA-L were evaluated with the aid of reference to adjacent sections processed to display substance P or calbindin 28 kD immunoreactivities, i.e., markers that demonstrate the core and shell. Lateral parts of the rostral pole gave rise to a "core-like" projection system that involved the rostroventral globus pallidus, subcommissural ventral pallidum, entopeduncular nucleus and an adjacent part of the lateral hypothalamus, lateral ventral tegmental area, dorsal pars compacta, and structures in the lateral mesencephalic tegmentum and central grey. The medial part of the rostral pole gave rise to a "shell-like" innervation of the subcommissural ventral pallidum, lateral preoptic region, lateral hypothalamus, ventral tegmental area, dorsalmost pars compacta, retrorubral field, lateral midbrain tegmentum, and central grey. In contrast to the large numbers of axon varicosities observed through the entire length of lateral hypothalamus following shell injections, dense accumulations of axon collaterals and varicosities in hypothalamus were limited to the levels of origin of the stria medullaris bundle and entopeduncular nucleus and to the posterlateral region following medial injections. The medial part of the rostral pole contributed some projections to preoptic and sublenticular regions, but not to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Noteworthy concentrations of calbindin immunoreactive cells observed in the lateral rostral pole correlate with the origin of the "basal ganglia-like" projection system, provoking the speculation that ventral striatal calbindin immunoreactive cells contribute principally to basal ganglia-like projections while cells lacking calbindin immunoreactivity contribute to the innervation of hypothalamus and midbrain tegmentum.
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              Intake of saccharin, salt, and ethanol solutions is increased by infusion of a mu opioid agonist into the nucleus accumbens.

              Endogenous opioids have been implicated in the hedonic evaluation of food and palatability. Opioids may also be involved in alcohol intake, as there is a positive correlation between alcohol drinking and preference for sweets and fats. Our previous studies have shown that mu opioid stimulation of the nucleus accumbens preferentially augments intake of palatable food containing sucrose and fat. The first goal of the present study was to further explore the nature of the involvement of mu opioids within the nucleus accumbens in ingestive behavior by investigating the importance of orosensory reward in opioid-mediated feeding, using non-caloric tasty substances (saccharin and salt). Second, we investigated whether mu opioid receptors within the nucleus accumbens also regulate alcohol consumption. The mu agonist, D-Ala2, NMe-Phe4, Glyol5-enkephalin (DAMGO; 0, 0.025 and 0.25 microg/0.5 microl per side), was microinfused into the nucleus accumbens, and intake of 0.6% saline, 0.15% sodium saccharin, water, and 6% ethanol was measured. Microinfusion of DAMGO into the nucleus accumbens increased the drinking of salt and saccharin solutions in non-deprived rats. However, water intake was not increased by this treatment in water-deprived rats. Mu opioid stimulation of the nucleus accumbens also augmented ethanol intake in rats not deprived of fluid, while leaving water intake unchanged when water was concurrently available. These results provide evidence to suggest that the mu opioid system within the ventral striatum regulates ingestive behavior via a mechanism related to the hedonic assessment of taste. In addition, the nucleus accumbens may be a key brain area where ethanol interacts with endogenous opioid systems, and thus may be a common neural substrate for both food palatability and alcohol drinking.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2007
                07 May 2007
                : 85
                : 3
                : 139-147
                aDepartment of Biology, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Ill., bDepartment of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, S.C., and cLaboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y., USA
                102536 Neuroendocrinology 2007;85:139–147
                © 2007 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: 5, References: 34, Pages: 9
                Neuroendocrine Modulators of Behavior


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