The role of the patch compartment and elF2? in METH-induced habitual behaviors
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TitleThe role of the patch compartment and elF2? in METH-induced habitual behaviors
AbstractThe initial basis of the experiment centered on examining how repetitive exposure to methamphetamine impacts behavior in rat animal models. With repetitive exposure to methamphetamine, the animals can form habitual behaviors resulting from stimulus-response learning, meaning an association is formed between a stimulus and an automatic response. To ensure the repetitive methamphetamine use is a habitual behavior, the drug is paired with a negative stimulus, LiCl, to create an aversion. If the use of methamphetamines is unchanged, then the behavior is considered habitual. Further investigation into the striatum began with the consideration that enhanced activity of the patch compartment, which has a high density of mu opioid receptors, likely corresponds with habitual drug abuse and therefore, higher addiction and habit-forming behaviors. Exposing the animal models to methamphetamines, which have high affinity for mu-opioid receptors, was thought to enhance activation of the patch compartment. However, using designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDS) contained within a virus, the patch compartment neurons were inhibited and addictive tendencies could potentially be controlled. The four experimental groups include vehicle infusion with saline, vehicle infusion with LiCl, virus infusion with saline, and virus infusion with LiCl. Once the experiment with the animal models was completed, the rats were sacrificed in order to use the brain tissue samples for further examination. To further understand the neurological causes of these behaviors, neurochemical changes in the patch compartment of the striatum were examined using immunohistochemical co-localization staining. The neurons of interest in the patch compartment for this experiment include those that contain the mu opioid receptors and the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2?, elF2?, antibody. From prior research experiments conducted, reduced activity of elF2? is connected to increasing synaptic connections in the brain and allowing animal models to feel greater senses of pleasure. This inherently leads to increased use of repetitive, habitual uses of drugs. It is possible the use of drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines, are causing elF2? inhibition. Performing an immunohistochemical co-localization staining will correlate the elF2? expression levels in mu opioid receptor containing neurons will contribute to the understanding of drug use in the patch compartment of the striatum.