Dopamina adicción y neurobiología


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Dopamina adicción y neurobiología

  1. 1. ACTUALIZACION POR TEMAS Neurobiology of addiction neuroanatomical, neurochemical, molecular and genetic aspects of morphine and cocaine addiction PART I Philippe Leff* Ma. Elena Medina-Mora* Juan Carlos Calva* Armando Valdés* Rodolfo Acevedo* Aline Morales Mayra Medécigo* Benito Antón*Summary ResumenAddiction is a serious clinical and social problem that impacts La adicción representa un importante problema de salud apublic health organizations in many countries. From a medical nivel clínico y social en múltiples países. Desde el punto deviewpoint, addiction is a complex neurobiological phenomenon vista médico, la adicción es un complejo fenómeno neurobioló-that affects different functional and molecular processes in gico que afecta diversos procesos funcionales y molecularesspecific areas of the mammal brain including human. Animal en diferentes áreas específicas del cerebro de los mamíferos,models of addiction have extensively used pharmacological incluyendo al humano. Diversos modelos animales sujetos aparadigms of drug self administration with the aim of investi- esquemas de autoadministración farmacológica han sido estu-gating the addictive properties of psychotropic substances such diados con el objeto de investigar las propiedades adictivasas morphine, heroine and cocaine. Thus, studies on these de múltiples sustancias psicotrópicas, como es el caso de laanimal models have identified that addictive properties of these morfina, la heroína y la cocaína. Estos estudios han concluidosubstances depend upon their pharmacological actions for que los efectos psicoadictivos de estas sustancias se debenaltering the specific neural functions of the mesocorticolimbic principalmente a la alteración de la actividad neuronal deldopaminergic circuitry. Specific electrophysiological, neuroche- sistema de transmisión dopaminérgico mesocorticolímbico.mical and genomic alterations in the mesocorticolimbic dopam- Este sistema neuronal sufre cambios funcionales a nivelinergic pathway have been identified during the development electrofisiológico, neuroquímico y genómico, que participanand long-term consolidation of complex behavioral states re- en forma concertada en el desarrollo y establecimiento a largolated to drug dependence and reward. This work reviews the plazo, en el reforzamiento y en la recompensa al consumo decurrent information related to the major electrophysiological las sustancias adictivas antes mencionadas. Este trabajo des-and neurochemical alterations that have been observed in the cribe el cuerpo de conocimientos actuales relacionados condopaminergic mesocorticolimbic circuitry during the addictive los cambios funcionales que se desarrollan y establecen du-processes of morphine, heroin and cocaine. rante el fenómeno adictivo a la morfina, la heroína y la cocaína.Key words: morphine, cocaine, mesocorticolimbic system, Palabras clave: Morfina, cocaína, sistema mesocorticolím-dopamine, neuron, opioid receptor, neural transmission, ad- bico, dopamina, neurona, receptor opioide, trasmisión neural,diction. adicción. * Laboratorio de Neurobiología Molecular y Neuroquímica de IntroducciónAdicciones, División de Investigaciones Clínicas, Instituto Mexicanode Psiquiatría. Calz. México-Xochimilco N°. 101. México, D.F. C.P.14370. Addiction is known as the dependence on substances Recibido: 3 de abril de 2000 of abuse (American Psychiatric Association, 1993) char- Aceptado: 17 de abril de 2000 acterized by a chronic and recurrent neurophysiologi- Salud Mental V. 23, No. 3, junio del 200046
  2. 2. cal alteration associated with progressive changes in increasing effects. Dependence is defined as the needbehavioral states associated with compulsive seeking for continued drug exposure to avoid a withdrawal syn-and intake of psychotropic substances. These behav- drome, characterized by specific physical or psycho-iors are frequently associated with a loss of control of logical disturbances when drug is withdrawn. Therefore,limiting intake of such substances with an emergence the physical and psychological disturbances developedof a negative emotional state (e.g., anxiety, irritability during addiction correlate with the development of pro-and dysphoria) when access to the drug is prevented gressive neuroadaptive changes in specific neuronal(Benowitz, 1993; Koob et al., 1998). Drug addiction is a circuitry during prolonged drug exposure. The gradualcomplex phenomenon with direct impact on the indi- development and long-term consolidation of persistentvidual and social welfare. Although some aspects of drug functional adaptations in the brain during drug addic-addiction can occur relatively rapidly in response to tion suggest its key modulatory role in mediating theacute administration of a drug of abuse, most changes addictive phenomena. Therefore, a central question toin brain function associated with addiction gradually understand the neurobiological mechanisms involvedoccur in response to prolonged drug exposure. These in the development of the addictive phenomenon is thegradually developing changes may persist for a long one related to the search for specific cellular, electro-period of time after cessation of drug administration. physiological and neurochemical adaptive processesThe adaptive changes that occur in brain function con- that occur in parallel to the development and consoli-cern those biological effects that induce specific signs dation of specific addictive behaviors. Moreover, drugand symptoms that characterize an addictive syndrome addiction implies a drug-induced neural plasticity, whichsuch as tolerance, sensitization, dependence and with- is a useful model for investigating the neural mecha-drawal. Tolerance is defined as a reduced effect upon nisms involved in brain plasticity. Furthermore, neuralrepeated exposure to a constant drug dose, or the need adaptations that occur in the brain during addiction mayfor an increased dose to maintain the same initial ef- be generated and encoded at a cellular level with long-fect. Sensitization, or “reverse-tolerance”, describes an term consolidated molecular memory (figure l). In sum-opposite effect, in which a constant drug dose elicits mary, from a pharmacological viewpoint, addiction could ADDICTION DRUG-SEEKING BEHAVIOR (COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR) NEUROADAPTATION NEURONAL PLASTICITY NEUROTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS DOPAMINE SEROTONIN SET POINTS GABA ENDOGENOUS OPIOID TRANSMISSION? OTHER? MEMBRANE SIGNALS AND TRANSDUCERS NEURONS MOLECULES AND GENES Figure 1. Schematic diagram showing the different levels of experimental approaches in the study of drug addiction: the role of neuroadaptive processes. Molecular and cellular neuroadaptive mechanisms contribute to the development and establishment of drug addiction. All these neuroadaptive mechanisms (e.g., neurotransmission systems, membrane signals and chemical transducers systems; intracellular molecules and genes) are known to contribute to drug seeking and compulsive behavior. These molecular and neuronal mechanisms acting at different levels of a spiraling cycle in the development of drug dependence produce long term neuroadaptive changes in several neurotransmission systems that enhance the establishment of the addictive phenomena (Adapted from Koob & Le Moal, 1997, Koob et. al., 1998; and modified by the authors of this publication). 47
  3. 3. then be seen as a complex drug-altered behavioral state hibiting the re-uptake of synaptic dopamine to cytoplas-that implicates the development and presence of other mic neuronal compartments (Nestler, 1996; Koob et al.,drug-intake reinforcing behaviors, such as tolerance, 1998). Thus, the potent reinforcing actions of cocainesensitization and dependence, which are enhanced by are directly related to its capacity of producing a sus-an initial acute exposure and subsequent repeated ad- tained increase of synaptic concentration of dopamine.ministration of an addictive substance. The present In support of these neurochemical findings there is phar-chapter is focused on a description of the current knowl- macological data of intravenous cocaine self-adminis-edge of the major neuroanatomical, electrophysiologi- tration studies coupled to in vivo perfusion of mesolimbiccal and chemical changes that occur during addiction areas with microdialysis probes. For instance, someto opiates and cocaine, one of the most highly abused studies have shown that a chronic schedule of self-in-drugs in humans. fused cocaine produces a sustained increase of neu- ronal efflux of dopamine in dopaminergic synaptic ter- minal fields of the NAc (Koob et al., 1998; Pettit andNeuroanatomical and neurochemical and Justice, 1989). It has also been demonstrated that theneurochemical changes in experimental models alteration of synaptic levels of dopamine correlate inof cocaine addiction parallel with the activation of specific dopaminergic re- ceptors (e.g., Dl, D2 and D3) localized in postsynapticA major goal of current research in the field of the neu- neurons in the NAc. Moreover, the dopamine receptorrobiology of addictions is to study the functional adap- activation is the initial membrane event that triggers atations that occur in specific neuronal groups of the brain significant increase in neuronal excitability and overareas during the development and establishment of dif- activation of the dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic sys-ferent behavioral alterations observed in addictive syn- tem, an electrophysiological alteration that is finallydromes. Most of the studies related to these research translated into the expression of behavioral “repertoires”topics have been approached in animal models, thus associated to cocaine addiction (Koob and Le Moal,enabling the identification of specific biological mecha- 1997; Koob et al., 1998). Furthermore, other pharma-nisms implicated in the development and establishment cological studies have shown that the intraventricularof the addictive phenomena (for a comprehensive re- injection of selective dopaminergic receptor antagonistsview see Koob et al., 1998; Nestler, et al., 1993, Nestler in the rat brain reduces the reinforcing properties of co-and Aghajanian, 1997). Although the experimental mod- caine self-administration (Caine et al., 1995; Epping-els of drug abuse developed in such animals do not Jordan, 1998). Similar results have been observed whencompletely simulate the pharmacological and environ- dopaminergic neurons in either the ventro tegmentalmental conditions which favor the development and area or nucleus accumbens are selectively destroyedestablishment of the addictive process in humans, most with the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) (Rob-of the experimental approaches in animal models have erts et al., 1980; Koob et al., 1998). Electrophysiologi-been devoted to identify in the brain, the specific cellu- cal studies performed in animal models of cocaine self-lar and molecular events that are responsible for the administration have demonstrated that the nucleusdevelopment and establishment of addictive phenom- accumbens is a key brain region where important neu-ena (Koob et al., 1998). In line with this experimental rochemical changes occur in association with specificwork, several pharmacological studies have docu- behavioral patterns of drug reinforcement (Chang et al.,mented the importance of two neuronal dopaminergic 1994; Carelli and Deadwyler, 1996; Peoples et al.,projecting systems of the mammal’s brain, as the neu- 1997). For example, in vivo extracellular electrical re-roanatomical loci where most drugs of abuse exert ei- cordings in the nucleus accumbens of animals exposedther directly or indirectly their pharmacological reinforc- to intravenous cocaine selfadministration, have identi-ing actions (e.g., morphine, heroin, cocaine and d-am- fied distinct patterns of neuronal responses to cocainephetamines [Woolverton and Johnson, 1992]. The first within this structure (Carelli and Deadwyler, 1996; Koobof these neuronal pathways is the nigrostriatal system, et al., 1998). A first group of neurons are selectivelywhich is formed by neuronal groups that send efferent depolarized a few seconds before cocaine infusion,dopaminergic projections from the substantia nigra (SN) meaning that neuronal anticipatory responses occur asto the striatum. The second dopaminergic pathway is a trigger mechanism for the initiation of drug intake (e.g.,composed by both neuronal groups localized in the increase in the frequency of neuronal triggering). A sec-ventro tegmental area (VTA) of the mesencephalon, that ond group of neurons change their firing rate after thesend an abundant network of efferent fibers that make exposure to the pharmacological paradigm of cocainesynaptic connections with neurons localized in the self-infusion, which suggests that these cells might benucleus accumbens (NAc), olfactory tubercle (OT) , pre- responsible for the reinforcing effects of cocaine (Carellifrontal cortex (PFCX) and amygdaloid complex (Amg). and Deadwyler, 1996). Furthermore, a third group ofThis latter dopaminergic circuitry is the main neural neurons seems to change its firing rate during the time-substrate implicated in the reinforcing actions of most intervals among sessions of cocaine self-infusiondrugs of abuse, including morphine, heroin and cocaine. (Peoples and West, 1996). Finally, a fourth pattern ofIt has been demonstrated that these substances have activation of electrical firing has been observed in athe ability to modify the chemical and molecular func- group of dopaminergic neurons referred to as “cocaine-tioning of these dopaminergic neurons through distinct specific cells” which are only activated when cocaine isfunctional mechanisms. For example, cocaine inhibits self-administered (Carelli and Deadwyler, 1996). In linethe membrane dopamine protein transporter thus in- with these data, it is intriguing that these latter subset48
  4. 4. of neurons also change their electrical excitability in Neuroanatomic and neurochemical changes in ani-response to sensory stimuli such as light and sound, a mal models of morphine and heroin addictionkind of stimuli that is routinely used as conditioning re-inforcers for cocaine administration in addictive phar- The reinforcing properties of opiates are mediatedmacological paradigms of self-infusion of this drug in through the capacity that these drugs have for alteringanimal models (Carelli and Deadwyler, 1996). Likewise, specific functions of the same dopaminergic circuitrythis kind of sensory stimuli has been observed to be modulated by cocaine, although the pharmacologicalstrong elicitors of cocaine “craving” in human addicts profile of opiates probably involve additional neural sites(Carelli and Deadwyler, 1996; Koob et. al., 1998). There- of interaction (Koob and Bloom, 1988; Koob et al., 1998).fore, the existence of specific dopaminergic neurons in In such context, it has been well documented that thethe nucleus accumbens has been postulated as a key reinforcing actions of opiates such as morphine andcellular target for mediating stimuli conditioned drug heroin, are exerted via alterations in the activity of theresponses. Overall, all these experimental findings also dopaminergic circuitry in drug rewarding brain areas ofsupport the existence of specific neuronal groups within mammals such as the ventral tegmental area, nucleusthe nucleus accumbens, which functionally modulate accumbens, amygdaloid complex and prefrontal cortexseveral drug reinforcing responses to cocaine as well (Koob and Bloom, 1988; Koob et al., 1998; Shoab andas the behavioral state of “seeking” for this drug in hu- Spanagel, 1994). The prefrontal cortex, as a neuroana-man beings (Koob et al., 1998; Robbins and Everitt, tomical part of the mesocorticolimbic system, provides1999). a major excitatory projection to the nucleus accumbens, The reinforcing properties and the long-term whereas this latter structure in turn influences this cor-neuroadaptations that occur in animal models subjected tical area by a poly-synaptic feedback circuitry. Bothto cocaine self-administration paradigms depend not regions receive dopaminergic projections from the ven-only on the capacity of this drug to increase the extra- tral tegmental area, where morphine and heroin medi-cellular dopamine concentration in the nucleus ate their behavioral reinforcing actions. In addition, theaccumbens but also on the cocaine’s capacity to in- prefrontal cortex is also known as a relevant corticalduce alterations in the excitability of dopaminergic neu- area for processing cognitive functions such as learn-rons localized in additional drug reinforcing areas of the ing and memory (Berendse et al., 1992; Brog et al.,mammal brain. So far, experiments using recombinant 1991; Giacchino and Henricksen, 1998).DNA techniques to generate the “knock-out” of specific Similar to cocaine, morphine and heroin are also in-genes that modulate the dopaminergic transmission travenously self-administered by animals, so that sys-system, have provided further evidence of the neuro- temic or central administration of competitive opiatechemical basis of cocaine reinforcement (Giros, et al., antagonists will affect opiate self-administration by re-1996). Thus, some interesting observations have been ducing their reinforcing properties (Di Chiara and North,observed in homozygous transgenic mice strains in 1992; Koob and Bloom, 1988). Thus, pharmacologicalwhich the specific gene coding for the membrane studies have demonstrated that reinforcing actions ofdopamine transporter protein has been altered for its morphine and heroin are largely mediated by specificexpression via homologous DNA recombination tech- activation of the mu opioid receptor subtype in the ven-niques (Giros et al., 1996). On the one hand, these stud- tral tegmental area, since administration of selectiveies have shown that cocaine is no longer able to change antagonists for this receptor decreases reinforcing prop-the extracellular baseline levels of dopamine in the brain erties of opiates in a dose-dependent manner (Negus,rewarding areas of the mouse. On the other hand, there et al., 1993). Moreover, immunohistochemical studieshas also been observed in cocaine self-administration (Mansour et al; 1987, 1988, 1995) have shown a highparadigms in these transgenic animals a lack of expression of the mu opiod receptor in mesocorticolim-cocaine’s capability to generate specific behavioral bic areas implicated in drug reinforcement. In addition,changes such as hyperlocomotion and motor stereo- experimental approaches using recombinant DNA tech-types, commonly seen in animal models of drug self- niques commonly used to “knock out” specific genes,administration. Moreover, these latter results suggest have demonstrated that the reinforcing actions of mor-that the negative modulation on the functional activity phine and heroin can be completely abolished in anof the membrane dopamine transporter by cocaine, rep- homozygous strain of mice-deficient for the mu opoidresent a critical neurochemical event through which receptor gene (Matthes et al., 1996; Kieffer, 1999).cocaine is capable of inducing and perpetuating its char- These data provided the first evidence that the mu opioidacteristic compulsive-seeking behavior in addictive receptor is the key molecular entity for mediating themammals including the human. However, the existence addictive actions of opiates such as morphine andof additional and more complex neurochemical mecha- heroin.nisms implicated in the reinforcing actions of cocaine In support of the central modulatory role of the muhas been suggested (Rocha et al., 1998), since para- opioid receptor subtype in opiate addiction it has beendoxical results have been observed when the dopam- demonstrated that local application of non-selective muine transporter-deficient mice are still able to be trained opioid antagonists (e.g., naloxone and naltrexone) intoto self-administer cocaine regardless of the high levels either the ventral tegmental area or the nucleusof extracellular dopamine found in dopaminergic termi- accumbens reduces the reinforcing properties of opiatesnal fields, a neurochemical alteration that is also seen as demonstrated by a significant reduction of drug-in-in non-transgenic control animals exposed to cocaine take in animals subjected to paradigms of heroin self-self-administration. administration (Koob et al., 1998). Furthermore, it has 49
  5. 5. also been shown that the local administration of either istence of distinct neuronal populations with differentendogenous (e.g., b-endorphin) or synthetic (e.g., electrical activity responses after self-administration ofDAMGO) agonists of the mu opioid receptor into drug morphine and heroin (Chang et al., 1997; Kiyatkin andrewarding brain areas increases the reinforcing actions Rebec, 1996, 1997; Peoples et al., 1997). For instance,of morphine and heroin self-administration (Vacarrino studies of single unit recordings of neurons in theet al., 1985; Corrigall et al., 1988, 1992; Shippenberg nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex of animalset al., 1992) Additional results have shown that the phar- exposed to intravenous self-administration of heroinmacological antagonism of the mu opioid receptor in- have shown that activity of distinct groups of neuronsduces withdrawal-like behavioral responses when mor- change before, during and after the infusion period ofphine and heroin administration is acutely suppressed heroin (Chang, et al., 1997). Thus, on the one hand,(Nestler, 1992, 1996; Widnell et al., 1996). one group of neurons increases its firing rate a few sec-Additional electrophysiological and pharmacological onds before the opiate infusion (heroin-anticipatory ex-studies have shown that morphine induces simulta- citatory responses) and another set of neurons dis-neously an increase in both the excitability of dopamin- charge when the administration of the opiate is with-ergic neurons and the synaptic outflow of baseline drawn (post-heroin excitatory responses). On the otherdopamine release in the ventral tegmental area hand, a different group of neurons show a decreased(Matthews et al., 1984; Chang et al., 1997). In line with firing rate seconds before the opioid infusion (heroin-these studies are the findings demonstrating that the anticipatory inhibitory responses) and finally, there is aabrupt withdrawal of either morphine or heroin self-ad- fourth group of neurons that show a decreased firingministration induces important neurochemical and elec- rate during opiate withdrawal. Thus, besides the dopam-trophysiological changes that significantly decrease both inergic transmission, all these studies may suggest thethe dopaminergic (Diana et al., 1993; Weiss et al., 1996; existence of additional complex interactions among dis-Koob et al., 1998) and the endogenous opioid neu- tinct neuronal transmitter systems besides the functionalrotransmission function (Di Chiara and North, 1992; Self modulation of the reinforcing actions of these drugs ofand Nestler, 1995) in drug rewarding areas of the ro- abuse. Additional multidisciplinary studies will be nec-dent brain. Furthermore, several reports have shown essary in order to obtain a better understanding of thethat the reinforcing actions of morphine and heroin in cellular and functional basis of the addiction to opiatesthe nucleus accumbens remain after the chemical de- and non opiate drugs of abuse.struction of dopaminergic projections of the ventral teg-mental area and nucleus accumbens with either 6-OHDA (Roberts et al., 1980) or kainic acid (Zito et al., Acknowledgments1985). These latter results support the hypothesis thatdifferent neurochemical circuitry and molecular events We appreciate the financial support for this publication to thecould be involved in modulating the motivational and Mexican Institute of Psychiatry (Instituto Mexicano de Psiquiatría), FUNSALUD and CONACYT (Project # 28887N).behavioral reinforcing actions of opiates (Koob and We appreciate the help of Isabel Pérez Monfort in reviewingBloom, 1988). 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