Document Type


Publication Date



This article has been peer reviewed and is published in The Journal of Neuroscience 2008 Jan 30;28(5):1198-207. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0988-07.2008. ©Society for Neuroscience


Responses to psychostimulants vary with age, but the molecular etiologies of these differences are largely unknown. The goal of the present research was to identify age-specific behavioral and molecular adaptations to cocaine and to elucidate the mechanisms involved therein. Postweanling, periadolescent, and adult male CD-1 mice were exposed to cocaine (20 mg/kg) for 7 d. The rewarding effects of cocaine were assessed, as were the response to a Trk antagonist and the regulation of dopamine and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein, 32 kDa (DARPP-32). Cocaine was rewarding in both periadolescent and adult mice using a conditioned place preference procedure. In contrast, postweanling mice failed to demonstrate significant cocaine-induced place preference. Because components of the neurotrophin system including brain-derived neurotrophic factor and TrkB are developmentally regulated, their role in the age-specific effects of cocaine was determined using the Trk receptor antagonist K252a. Postweanling mice that received K252a before daily cocaine showed a significant place preference to the cocaine-paired environment that was not seen in the absence of K252a. DARPP-32 protein levels were significantly upregulated in the lateral region of the caudate-putamen exclusively in postweanling mice after chronic cocaine. Daily pretreatment with K252a attenuated the induction of DARPP-32 in the postweanling striatum. These data indicate that Trk neurotransmission plays a role in age-specific behavioral and molecular responses to cocaine and concurrently modulates DARPP-32 levels.

PubMed ID