Dopamine agonists have been proposed as therapeutic tools for cocaine addiction. We have recently demonstrated that indirect dopamine agonists, including levodopa (L-DOPA), markedly increase cocaine-induced dopamine release in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of rats leading to the suppression of cocaine-seeking behavior. This study was aimed to understand the behavioral and neurochemical effects of L-DOPA on cocaine-taking and cocaine-seeking in rats. After reaching a stable pattern of intravenous cocaine self-administration under a continuous fixed ratio (FR-1) schedule of reinforcement, male rats were treated with L-DOPA at different steps of the self-administration protocol. We found that L-DOPA reduced cocaine self-administration under FR-1 schedule of reinforcement and decreased the breaking points and the amount of cocaine self-administered under the progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement. Levodopa also decreased cocaine-seeking behavior both in a saline substitution test and in the cue priming-induced reinstatement test, without affecting general motor activity. Importantly, L-DOPA greatly potentiated cocaine-induced dopamine release in the mPFC of self-administering rats while reducing their cocaine intake. In the same brain area, L-DOPA also increased dopamine levels during cue priming-induced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior. The potentiating effect was also evident in the mPFC but not nucleus accumbens core of drug-naïve rats passively administered with cocaine. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that L-DOPA efficaciously reduces the reinforcing and motivational effects of cocaine likely potentiating dopamine transmission in the mPFC. Its ability to prevent cue priming-induced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking suggests that it might be effective in reducing the risk to relapse to cocaine in abstinent patients.
|Titolo:||Levodopa prevents the reinstatement of cocaine self-administration in rats via potentiation of dopamine release in the medial prefrontal cortex|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Tipologia:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|