Mu Opioid Receptors in Gamma-Aminobutyric Acidergic Forebrain Neurons Moderate Motivation for Heroin and Palatable Food.

TitleMu Opioid Receptors in Gamma-Aminobutyric Acidergic Forebrain Neurons Moderate Motivation for Heroin and Palatable Food.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsCharbogne P, Gardon O, Martin-Garcia E, Keyworth HL, Matsui A, Mechling AE, Bienert T, Nasseef T, Robé A, Moquin L, Darcq E, Ben Hamida S, Robledo P, Matifas A, Befort K, Gaveriaux-Ruff C, Harsan L-A, von Elverfeldt D, Hennig J, Gratton A, Kitchen I, Bailey A, Alvarez VA, Maldonado R, Kieffer BL
JournalBiol Psychiatry
Date Published2017 May 01

BACKGROUND: Mu opioid receptors (MORs) are central to pain control, drug reward, and addictive behaviors, but underlying circuit mechanisms have been poorly explored by genetic approaches. Here we investigate the contribution of MORs expressed in gamma-aminobutyric acidergic forebrain neurons to major biological effects of opiates, and also challenge the canonical disinhibition model of opiate reward.METHODS: We used Dlx5/6-mediated recombination to create conditional Oprm1 mice in gamma-aminobutyric acidergic forebrain neurons. We characterized the genetic deletion by histology, electrophysiology, and microdialysis; probed neuronal activation by c-Fos immunohistochemistry and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging; and investigated main behavioral responses to opiates, including motivation to obtain heroin and palatable food.RESULTS: Mutant mice showed MOR transcript deletion mainly in the striatum. In the ventral tegmental area, local MOR activity was intact, and reduced activity was only observed at the level of striatonigral afferents. Heroin-induced neuronal activation was modified at both sites, and whole-brain functional networks were altered in live animals. Morphine analgesia was not altered, and neither was physical dependence to chronic morphine. In contrast, locomotor effects of heroin were abolished, and heroin-induced catalepsy was increased. Place preference to heroin was not modified, but remarkably, motivation to obtain heroin and palatable food was enhanced in operant self-administration procedures.CONCLUSIONS: Our study reveals dissociable MOR functions across mesocorticolimbic networks. Thus, beyond a well-established role in reward processing, operating at the level of local ventral tegmental area neurons, MORs also moderate motivation for appetitive stimuli within forebrain circuits that drive motivated behaviors.

Alternate JournalBiol. Psychiatry
PubMed ID28185645
PubMed Central IDPMC5386808
Grant ListP50 DA005010 / DA / NIDA NIH HHS / United States
U01 AA016658 / AA / NIAAA NIH HHS / United States
ZIA AA000421 / AA / NIAAA NIH HHS / United States