Sex differences in the rat hippocampal opioid system after oxycodone conditioned place preference.

TitleSex differences in the rat hippocampal opioid system after oxycodone conditioned place preference.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsRyan JD, Zhou Y, Contoreggi NH, Bshesh FK, Gray JD, Kogan JF, Ben KT, McEwen BS, Kreek MJeanne, Milner TA
Date Published2018 Oct 11

Although opioid addiction has risen dramatically, the role of gender in addiction has been difficult to elucidate. We previously found sex-dependent differences in the hippocampal opioid system of Sprague-Dawley rats that may promote associative learning relevant to drug abuse. The present studies show that although female and male rats acquired conditioned place preference (CPP) to the mu-opioid receptor (MOR) agonist oxycodone (3mg/kg, I.P.), hippocampal opioid circuits were differentially altered. In CA3, Leu-Enkephalin-containing mossy fibers had elevated levels in oxycodone CPP (Oxy) males comparable to those in females and sprouted in Oxy-females, suggesting different mechanisms for enhancing opioid sensitivity. Electron microscopy revealed that in Oxy-males delta opioid receptors (DORs) redistributed to mossy fiber-CA3 synapses in a manner resembling females that we previously showed is important for opioid-mediated long-term potentiation. Moreover, in Oxy-females DORs redistributed to CA3 pyramidal cell spines suggesting the potential for enhanced plasticity processes. In Saline-injected (Sal) females, dentate hilar parvalbumin-containing basket interneuron dendrites had fewer MORs, however, plasmalemmal and total MORs increased in Oxy-females. In dentate hilar GABAergic dendrites that contain neuropeptide Y, Sal-females compared to Sal-males had higher plasmalemmal DORs, and near-plasmalemmal DORs increased in Oxy-females. This redistribution of MORs and DORs within hilar interneurons in Oxy-females would potentially enhance disinhibition of granule cells via two different circuits. Together, these results indicate that oxycodone CPP induces sex-dependent redistributions of opioid receptors in hippocampal circuits in a manner facilitating opioid-associative learning processes and may help explain the increased susceptibility of females to opioid addiction acquisition and relapse.

Alternate JournalNeuroscience
PubMed ID30316908