KCNQ2/3 channel agonist flupirtine reduces cocaine place preference in rats

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The efficacy of KCNQ2/3 channel agonists against drug reward has not been defined despite their ability to reduce locomotor-stimulant and dopamine-activating effects of psychostimulants. We tested the hypothesis that flupirtine (FLU) (2.5, 10, 20 mg/kg), a KCNQ2/3 agonist, reduces cocaine (15 mg/kg) conditioned place preference. FLU (20 mg/kg), injected concurrently with cocaine during conditioning, reduced the development of cocaine conditioned place preference. FLU (20 mg/kg) also reduced cocaine locomotor activation without affecting baseline activity. The disruption of cocaine place preference by FLU suggests that KCNQ2/3 channels influence cocaine’s rewarding effects.

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