The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Role of the major glutamate transporter GLT1 in nucleus accumbens core versus shell in cue-induced cocaine-seeking behavior.

PMID 23719800


Relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior requires an increase in nucleus accumbens (NAc) core glutamate transmission. Decreased expression of glutamate type I transporter (GLT1), which is responsible for >90% of glutamate clearance, occurs in the core of rats withdrawn from cocaine self-administration, while treatment with ceftriaxone, a β-lactam antibiotic previously shown to increase GLT1 expression and function in rodents, upregulates GLT1 and attenuates cue-induced cocaine reinstatement. Here, we tested the effects of increasing GLT1 expression on cue-induced cocaine seeking in rats exposed to either limited (2 h/d) or extended (6 h/d) cocaine access followed by short (2 d) or long (45 d) withdrawal periods. Treatment with ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg, i.p.) upregulated core GLT1 expression and attenuated cue-induced cocaine-seeking behavior only in rats exposed to long withdrawal periods, with a greater effect in the extended-access condition. Pearson's correlation revealed GLT1 expression in core to be inversely correlated with cue-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. To localize the effects of GLT1 upregulation within NAc, we tested the hypothesis that blockade of GLT1 in NAc core, but not shell, would reverse the ceftriaxone-mediated effect. Rats withdrawn from cocaine self-administration were treated with the same dose of ceftriaxone followed by intracore or intrashell infusions of one of two GLT1 blockers, dihydrokainic acid (500 μM) or DL-threo-β-benzyloxyaspartate (250 μM), or saline. Our results reveal that the ceftriaxone-mediated attenuation of cue-induced cocaine reinstatement is reversed by GLT1 blockade in core, but not shell, and further implicate core GLT1 as a potential therapeutic target for cocaine relapse.