Krasnova IN, Chiflikyan M, Justinova Z, McCoy MT, Ladenheim B, Jayanthi S, Quintero C, Brannock C, Barnes C, Adair JE, Lehrmann E, Kobeissy FH, Gold MS, Becker KG, Goldberg SR, Cadet JL
Neuroplastic changes in the dorsal striatum participate in the transition from casual to habitual drug use and might play a critical role in the development of methamphetamine (METH) addiction. We examined the influence of METH self-administration on gene and protein expression that may form substrates for METH-induced neuronal plasticity in the dorsal striatum. Male Sprague-Dawley rats self-administered METH (0.1mg/kg/injection, i.v.) or received yoked saline infusions during eight 15-h sessions and were euthanized 2h, 24h, or 1month after cessation of METH exposure. Changes in gene and protein expression were assessed using microarray analysis, RT-PCR and Western blots. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by PCR was used to examine epigenetic regulation of METH-induced transcription. METH self-administration caused increases in mRNA expression of the transcription factors, c-fos and fosb, the neurotrophic factor, Bdnf, and the synaptic protein, synaptophysin (Syp) in the dorsal striatum. METH also caused changes in ΔFosB, BDNF and TrkB protein levels, with increases after 2 and 24h, but decreases after 1month of drug abstinence. Importantly, ChIP-PCR showed that METH self-administration caused enrichment of phosphorylated CREB (pCREB), but not of histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 4 (H3K4me3), on promoters of c-fos, fosb, Bdnf and Syp at 2h after cessation of drug intake. These findings show that METH-induced changes in gene expression are mediated, in part, by pCREB-dependent epigenetic phenomena. Thus, METH self-administration might trigger epigenetic changes that mediate alterations in expression of genes and proteins serving as substrates for addiction-related synaptic plasticity.