Within the nucleus accumbens (NAc), synaptic GABAA receptors (GABAARs) mediate phasic inhibition of medium spiny neurons (MSNs) and influence behavioral responses to cocaine. We demonstrate that both dopamine D1- and D2-receptor-expressing MSNs (D-MSNs) additionally harbor extrasynaptic GABAARs incorporating α4, β, and δ subunits that mediate tonic inhibition, thereby influencing neuronal excitability. Both the selective δ-GABAAR agonist THIP and DS2, a selective positive allosteric modulator, greatly increased the tonic current of all MSNs from wild-type (WT), but not from δ(-/-) or α4(-/-) mice. Coupling dopamine and tonic inhibition, the acute activation of D1 receptors (by a selective agonist or indirectly by amphetamine) greatly enhanced tonic inhibition in D1-MSNs but not D2-MSNs. In contrast, prolonged D2 receptor activation modestly reduced the tonic conductance of D2-MSNs. Behaviorally, WT and constitutive α4(-/-) mice did not differ in their expression of cocaine-conditioned place preference (CPP). Importantly, however, mice with the α4 deletion specific to D1-expressing neurons (α4(D1-/-)) showed increased CPP. Furthermore, THIP administered systemically or directly into the NAc of WT, but not α4(-/-) or α4(D1-/-) mice, blocked cocaine enhancement of CPP. In comparison, α4(D2-/-) mice exhibited normal CPP, but no cocaine enhancement. In conclusion, dopamine modulation of GABAergic tonic inhibition of D1- and D2-MSNs provides an intrinsic mechanism to differentially affect their excitability in response to psychostimulants and thereby influence their ability to potentiate conditioned reward. Therefore, α4βδ GABAARs may represent a viable target for the development of novel therapeutics to better understand and influence addictive behaviors.
Pubmed ID: 24431441 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Animals | Central Nervous System Stimulants | Conditioning (Psychology) | Male | Mice | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Mice, Knockout | Mice, Transgenic | Neural Inhibition | Nucleus Accumbens | Receptors, GABA-A | Synapses
Publication data is provided by the National Library of Medicine ® and PubMed ®. Data is retrieved from PubMed ® on a weekly schedule. For terms and conditions see the National Library of Medicine Terms and Conditions.