The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse

Relationship between central behavioral effects and peripheral sympathetic neurotransmission functionality during acute cocaine withdrawal syndrome in adult rats.

PMID 26579734


Acute cocaine withdrawal syndrome (ACWS) is characterized as a set of organic alterations triggered by abrupt discontinuation of chronic cocaine consumption, usually occurring at 24-40 hours after withdrawal. However, little is known about the relationship between central and peripheral sympathetic neurotransmission during ACWS. We investigated the mechanisms involved in central and peripheral sympathetic neurotransmission and how ACWS affects the sympathetic functionality. Cocaine was administered twice daily for 5 days in Wistar rats (at least 5 in each group): on the first and second day, 15 mg/kg/i.p.; third day, 20 mg/kg/i.p.; and finally in the last two days, 30 mg/kg/i.p. Subsequently, at 1, 24, 48 and 120 h after cocaine administration the following experiments were done: (i) at the central level, behavioral tests of open-field and elevated plus maze; and (ii) at the peripheral level, tests of catecholamine release, function of α2-adrenergic receptors (α2-ARs), imidazoline receptors (I(1,2)-Rs), L-type voltage-gated (Ca(v1.2)) Ca(2+) channels and α1-ARs. During ACWS, rats showed hypolocomotion and exacerbation of anxiogenic-effects 24 h after cocaine withdrawal. Likewise, a decrease in the catecholamine release and activity of α2-ARs/I(1,2)-Rs at 24-48 h after cocaine withdrawal was observed. A decrease in Ca(v1.2) channels and α1-ARs function at 48 h after cocaine withdrawal was observed. The relationship of central and peripheral sympathetic neurotransmission during ACWS possibly due to a failure in activation and/or inactivation of presynaptic α2-ARs/I(1,2)-Rs, may offer a potential target for attenuating ACWS.