We previously demonstrated that nELAV/GAP-43 pathway is pivotal for learning and its hippocampal expression is up-regulated by acute stress following repeated cocaine administration. We therefore hypothesized that abstinence-induced stress may sustain nELAV/GAP-43 pathway during early abstinence following 2 weeks of cocaine self-administration. We found that contingent, but not non-contingent, cocaine exposure selectively increases hippocampal nELAV, but not GAP-43, expression immediately after the last self-administration session, an effect that wanes after 24 h and that comes back 7 days later when nELAV activation becomes associated with increased expression of GAP-43, an effect again observed only in animals self-administering the psychostimulant. Such effect is specific for nELAV since the ubiquitous ELAV/HuR is unchanged. This nELAV profile suggests that its initial transient alteration is perhaps related to the daily administration of cocaine, while the increase in the nELAV/GAP-43 pathway following a week of abstinence may reflect the activation of this cascade as a target of stressful conditions associated with drug-related memories.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience