Antisense-induced reduction in nucleus accumbens cyclic AMP response element binding protein attenuates cocaine reinforcement

K. H. Choi, K. Whisler, D. L. Graham, D. W. Self

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Repeated cocaine exposure up-regulates cyclic AMP signaling and increases the transcriptional activity of cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) in the nucleus accumbens. To study the possibility that nucleus accumbens CREB activity regulates self-administration behavior, we tested the effects of a single, bilateral infusion of CREB antisense oligonucleotide into nucleus accumbens core and shell sub-regions on cocaine self-administration in rats. Nucleus accumbens core infusions of CREB antisense reduced CREB and the CREB-regulated immediate early gene brain-derived neurotrophic factor by 31 and 27%, respectively, but failed to alter levels of the homologous CREB family proteins cyclic AMP response element modulator and activating transcription factor 1, and had no effect on CREB levels in adjacent nucleus accumbens shell tissue. Similar infusions of CREB antisense in either core or shell produced a transient downward shift in cocaine self-administration dose-response curves on a fixed ratio 5 (five responses/injection) reinforcement schedule, indicating a reduction in cocaine reinforcement that fully recovered 3 days after treatment. CREB antisense also increased the threshold dose of cocaine required for reinstating cocaine self-administration, indicating that nucleus accumbens CREB levels regulate the incentive properties of cocaine. When access to cocaine was less restricted on a fixed ratio 1 schedule, infusion of CREB antisense in the core, but not shell, caused a transient (1-2 days) reduction in stabilized cocaine self-administration, but had no effect on responding maintained by sucrose pellets, indicating that basal CREB levels in the nucleus accumbens core regulate drug intake. None of these effects were produced by nucleus accumbens infusions of complementary sense oligonucleotide. These results suggest a necessary role for nucleus accumbens CREB activity in cocaine reinforcement, and, by converse analogy, up-regulation in CREB activity after chronic cocaine use could contribute to addiction-related increases in cocaine self-administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-383
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Addiction
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Cyclic AMP response element binding protein
  • Reinstatement
  • Reward
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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