The metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 antagonist 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)pyridine (MPEP) microinfusions in the nucleus accumbens shell and ventral tegmental area attenuate the reinforcing effects of nicotine in rats
Systemic administration of the mGlu5 receptor antagonist 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP) was previously shown to selectively attenuate nicotine self-administration without affecting food-maintained responding in rats. Glutamatergic neurotransmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc) shell plays an important role in the reinforcing effects of nicotine. To determine the brain sites that may mediate the systemic effects of MPEP on nicotine self-administration, the present study investigated the effects of MPEP microinfusions into the VTA or the NAcc shell on nicotine and food self-administration in separate groups of rats. Administration of low MPEP doses (0, 0.5, 1, and 2 μg/0.5 μl/side) microinfused into the NAcc shell had no effect on nicotine self-administration, whereas higher MPEP doses (0, 10, 20, and 40 μg/0.5 μl/side) microinfused into the NAcc shell dose-dependently attenuated nicotine self-administration without affecting food-maintained responding. Microinfusions of MPEP into the VTA (0, 10, 20, and 40 μg/0.5 μl/side) significantly decreased both nicotine and food self-administration at 20 μg/0.5 μl/side but did not affect responding for either reinforcer at 40 μg/0.5 μl/side. This lack of effect of 40 μg/0.5 μl/side MPEP on either nicotine or food self-administration when administered into the VTA may be attributable either to actions of MPEP at presynaptic mGlu5 receptors or at targets other than mGlu5 receptors. Importantly, anatomical control injections 2 mm above the NAcc shell or the VTA using the most effective MPEP dose in the two regions did not result in attenuation of nicotine self-administration. In conclusion, MPEP microinfusions in the VTA or NAcc shell attenuates the reinforcing effects of nicotine possibly via blockade of mGlu5 receptors located in these regions.