Xlr4 as a new candidate gene underlying vulnerability to cocaine effects

Matteo Di Segni, Sebastian Luca D'Addario, Lucy Babicola, Donald Ielpo, Luisa Lo Iacono, Diego Andolina, Alessandra Accoto, Alessandra Luchetti, Camilla Mancini, Chiara Parisi, Mara D'Onofrio, Ivan Arisi, Rossella Brandi, Tiziana Pascucci, Carlo Cifani, Francesca R. D'Amato, Rossella Ventura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although several studies have been performed in rodents, non-human primates and humans, the biological basis of vulnerability to develop cocaine addiction remains largely unknown. Exposure to critical early events (as Repeated Cross Fostering (RCF)) has been reported to increase sensitivity to cocaine effects in adult C57BL/6J female mice. Using a microarray approach, here we report data showing a strong engagement of X-linked lymphocyte-regulated 4a and 4b (Xlr4) genes in cocaine effects. The expression of Xlr4, a gene involved in chromatin remodeling and dendritic spine morphology, was reduced into the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) of adult RCF C57BL/6J female. We used virally mediated accumbal Xlr4 down-modulation (AAVXlr4-KD) to investigate the role of this gene in vulnerability to cocaine effects. AAVXlr4-KD animals show a potentiated behavioral and neurochemical response to cocaine, reinstatement following cocaine withdrawal and cocaine-induced spine density alterations in the Medium-Sized Spiny Neurons of NAc. We propose Xlr4 as a new candidate gene mediating the cocaine effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108019
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2020


  • Candidate gene
  • Cocaine effects
  • Early stress
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Xlr4 as a new candidate gene underlying vulnerability to cocaine effects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this