Alterations of BDNF and NT-3 genes expression in the nucleus paragigantocellularis during morphine dependency and withdrawal
Locus coeruleus (LC) plays a key role in opioid dependence and withdrawal. Chronic morphine administration induces neurochemical adaptations in the noradrenergic system. The nature of signal responsible for opiate-induced adaptations of noradrenergic neurons in LC is not well defined. Neurotrophins-signaling pathways such as brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) play a key role for regulating the noradrenergic response of LC neurons to opiates. The nucleus paragiganto-cellularis (PGi) is one of the two major afferents to LC. The present study was designed to evaluate the expression of BDNF and NT-3 in the context of opiate dependence and withdrawal in PGi. Such data are important because they could reveal the role of PGi as an additional source of BDNF and NT-3 in the neurochemical plasticity of LC neurons. Opiate dependence was induced by a progressive intraperitoneal treatment of morphine. In morphine dependent group PGi nucleus was extracted for gene expression assay 6 h after the last injection of morphine. In spontaneous withdrawal, rats received the same chronic treatment as morphine group. PGi was extracted for gene expression assay 24, 48 and 72 h after the last injection of morphine. PGi nucleus was assayed for the expression of BDNF and NT-3 using semi-quantitative RT-PCR normalized to P-actin gene expression. Results showed that chronic administration of morphine significantly increased BDNF and NT-3 gene expression in PGi. In spontaneous withdrawal, BDNF/NT-3 genes expression were high in comparison to control group. It seems that BDNF/NT-3-signaling pathway originating from PGi is essential for opiate-induced adaptations of the LC neurons. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.