Title

Regulator of G protein signaling 2 (RGS2) and 4 (RGS4) in the rewarding effects of cocaine. Physiology and Behavior

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-21-2018

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.07.016

Abstract

There is a need to identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of cocaine addiction due to the rise in cocaine abuse and deaths due to cocaine overdose. Regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins such as RGS2 and RGS4 are widely distributed in brain regions that play a role in drug reward. Importantly, RGS2 and RGS4 negatively regulate G-protein coupled receptor signaling pathways of monoaminergic neurotransmitters that play a role in the rewarding effects of cocaine by enhancing the rate of hydrolysis of Gα-bound guanine nucleotide triphosphate. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the effects of cocaine on conditioned place preference (CPP) and locomotor activity in mice that lacked either RGS2 or RGS4 (i.e. knockout (KO) mice) and their wildtype (WT) littermates. Moreover recent studies have reported influence of sex on RGS functioning and hence studies were conducted in both male and female mice. Cocaine-induced CPP was attenuated in male, but not female RGS4 KO mice compared to respective RGS4 WT mice. Cocaine-induced CPP was not influenced by deletion of RGS2 in either male or female mice. Similarly, cocaine-induced locomotor activity was not influenced by deletion of either RGS2 or RGS4 irrespective of sex. Together, the data indicate that the rewarding effects of cocaine were attenuated in the absence of RGS4 expression, but not in the absence of RGS2 expression in a sex-dependent manner. Importantly, these data suggest that RGS4 can serve as a potential target for medications that can be used to treat cocaine addiction.

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