Sensitization of neuronal response to cocaine during withdrawal following chronic treatment

Ronald P. Hammer, Erick S. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The neural basis of sensitization was examined by assessing the expression of zif/268 mRNA in cortical and striatal neurons following cocaine challenge (30 mg kg-1, i.p.) after 2 weeks of daily treatment with cocaine or saline vehicle. Acute cocaine challenge induced zif/268 mRNA expression in neurons of the caudate putamen (CP), nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell and prelimbic cortex. Chronic cocaine treatment attenuated zif/268 mRNA expression in these regions, although zif/268 mRNA response in CP neurons recovered after 7 days of withdrawal. In contrast, cocaine challenge during withdrawal augmented zif/268 response in neurons of the infralimbic cortex and olfactory tubercle. Sensitized activity in these regions could serve to amplify mesolimbic dopamine and NAc responses, and might provide a critical stimulus to drug craving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2041-2045
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1996


  • cocaine
  • infralimbic cortex
  • nucleus accumbens
  • sensitization
  • striatum
  • zif/268 mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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