Rationale: Drug-associated cues exposure to induce extinction is a useful strategy to contrast cue-induced drug seeking. Treatments aimed at reducing motivational properties of cues are considered highly promising since they could decrease their ability to induce drug-conditioned behaviors. Norepinephrine (NE) in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is critical for attribution of motivational salience to highly salient stimuli, suggesting a major role in prelimbic (PL) mpFC to modulate the motivational properties of drug-related cues, invigorating them, and consequently, delaying extinction. Objectives: To investigate if NE in PL fosters the maintenance of drug-seeking behavior, we assessed its role on amphetamine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP). Moreover, to affirm the specificity of NE in PL, we also assessed the role of NE in the infralimbic (IL) mPFC. Methods: The effects of selective NE depletion in the PL or in the IL of C57BL/6J mice were assessed on the expression of amphetamine-induced CPP before and after extinction procedure. Results: NE-depleted mice in PL extinguished preference for Amph-paired chamber long before sham animals. By contrast, IL-depleted animals maintained place preference for more than 4 weeks after the procedure of extinction, having at that moment interrupted the test. Conclusions: Inactivation of NE in PL cortex blunts amphetamine-induced CPP, thus fostering extinction and showing to be critical for the maintenance of conditioned Amph-seeking behavior. Opposite effects of NE depletion in IL, seemingly in agreement with literature on extinction, are discussed in terms of balance of activity between PL and IL in extinction.
- Conditioned place preference (CPP)
- Infralimbic cortex
- Motivational salience
- Prelimbic cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas