Dopamine D2 receptors mediate the increase in reinstatement of the conditioned rewarding effects of cocaine induced by acute social defeat

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Social stress modifies the activity of brain areas involved in the rewarding effects of psychostimulants, inducing neuroadaptations in the dopaminergic mesolimbic system and modifying the sensitivity of dopamine receptors. In the present study we evaluated the effect of the dopamine D1- and D2-like receptor antagonists (SCH23390 and raclopride, respectively) on the short-time effects of acute social defeat (ASD). Male OF1 mice were socially defeated before each conditioning session of the conditioned place preference (CPP) induced by 1 mg/kg or 25 mg/kg of cocaine plus the corresponding dopamine antagonist. A final experiment was designed to evaluate the effect of the dopamine antagonists on the CPP induced by 3 mg/kg of cocaine with or without a stress experience. Mice exposed to ASD showed an increase in reinstatement of the conditioned reinforcing effects of cocaine that was blocked by all of the dopamine receptor antagonists. Blockade of dopamine D2-like receptors with raclopride specifically prevented the effects of stress without affecting the rewarding properties of cocaine. However, SCH23390 inhibited cocaine-induced preference in the control groups and even induced aversion in defeated mice conditioned with the lower dose of cocaine. Moreover, the lowest dose of SCH23390 blocked the rewarding effects of 3 mg/kg of cocaine-induced CPP. Our results confirm that the dopamine D2 receptor is involved in the short-term effects of ASD on the rewarding effects of cocaine. The dopamine D1 receptor is clearly involved in the rewarding effects of cocaine, but its role in the effects of ASD remains to be demonstrated.

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