Neuroscience letters

Intrahippocampal administration of D2 but not D1 dopamine receptor antagonist suppresses the expression of conditioned place preference induced by morphine in the ventral tegmental area.

PMID 23499959


The ventral tegmental area (VTA) as a major source of dopamine neurons projecting to cortical and limbic regions has a crucial role in reward and addiction. The current study assessed the role of D1 and D2 receptors within the dorsal hippocampus (CA1) in the expression of conditioned place preference (CPP) by intra-VTA morphine in the rats. In the present study, 160 adult male albino Wistar rats weighing 220-290g were bilaterally implanted by two cannulae into the CA1 and VTA. The CPP paradigm was done and animal displacement, conditioning score and locomotor activity were recorded. For blocking the dopamine D1/D2 receptors in the dorsal hippocampus, SCH23390 (0.02, 0.05, 0.2 and 0.5μg per side) or sulpiride (0.25, 0.75, 1.5 and 3μg per side) were microinjected into the CA1, just 5min before the CPP test on the post-conditioning day. All animals received intra-VTA morphine (1μg per side) during 3-days conditioning phase. Our results showed that sulpiride (1.5 and 3μg) but not SCH23390 in the dorsal hippocampus significantly decreased the expression of CPP induced by intra-VTA morphine (p<0.001). Intra-CA1 administration of these antagonists alone, in all doses, could not induce CPP. We suggest that D2 receptors in the CA1 region of hippocampus have a key role in the expression of CPP induced by morphine at the level of the VTA and there is a relationship between dopaminergic D2 receptors and opioidergic systems in these areas in reward circuit.