Baijuan Xia, Yixin Li, Rongrong Li, Dan Yin, Xingqiang Chen, Jie Li, Wenmei Liang
Department of Histology and Embryology, Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou, China (mainland)
Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:3789-3803
Synaptic plasticity plays an important role in the process of addiction. This study investigated the relationship between synaptic plasticity and changes in addictive behavior and examined the expression of synaptic plasticity-associated proteins and genes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) region in different rat models.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Heroin addiction, SIRT1-overexpression, and SIRT1-silenced rat models were established. Polymerase chain reaction gene chip technology, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and transmission electron microscopy were used to detect changes in synaptic plasticity-related gene and protein expression, and changes in the ultrastructure of synapses, in the NAc.
RESULTS: Naloxone withdrawal symptoms appeared in the SIRT1-overexpression group. In the SIRT1-silenced group the symptoms were reduced. Immunohistochemistry and Western blotting results showed that FOXO1 expression decreased in the heroin addiction (HA) group but increased in the SIRT1-silenced group (p<0.05). The expression of Cdk5, Nf-κB, PSD95, and Syn was enhanced in the HA group (p<0.05) and further increased in the SIRT1-overexpression group but were reduced in the SIRT1-silenced group (p<0.05). The number of synapses increased in the HA group (p<0.05) along with mitochondrial swelling in the presynaptic membrane and obscuring of the synaptic cleft.
CONCLUSIONS: SIRT1 and other synaptic plasticity-related genes in NAc are involved in the regulation of heroin addiction. SIRT1 overexpression can increase behavioral sensitization in the NAc of rats, and SIRT1 silencing might ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce conditioned place preferences.
Keywords: Heroin, Neuronal Plasticity, Nucleus Accumbens