Date of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychological Sciences

First Advisor

Cristine Czachowski

Committee Chair

Cristine Czachowski

Committee Member 1

Christopher Lapish

Committee Member 2

Bethany Neal-Beliveau

Committee Member 3

Julia Chester

Abstract

Background: Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR2/3) are predominately presynaptically located Gi/o coupled receptors that are highly expressed in the cortex, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and hippocampus. Previous studies suggest that group II mGluRs are involved in regulating ethanol (EtOH) consumption and seeking following extinction (Backstrom and Hyytia, 2005; Kufahl, et al., 2011). The sipper tube model, which allows for procedural separation of seeking and consumption, was used to further clarify the role of mGluR2/3 in EtOH-seeking and consumption. The non-selective group II mGluR agonist LY379268 (LY37) and selective mGluR2 positive allosteric modulator (PAM) BINA were used to determine the relative contribution of mGlu2 and mGlu3 receptors on EtOH seeking and consumption. Following characterization of the agonist and PAM on EtOH reinforcement, a microinjection study was performed examining the effect of blockade of nucleus accumbens core mGluR2/3 on systemic agonist induced suppression of EtOH-seeking. ^ Methods: For the systemic agonist/PAM experiments, separate groups of male Wistar rats [n=8-9 group; LY37 (0-2.0 mg/kg) and BINA (0-20 mg/kg)] were trained to complete a response requirement (RR) of 10 lever presses that resulted in access to 10% EtOH or 2% sucrose (in separate groups) for a 20-minute drinking period. For consummatory testing, animals received weekly drug injections with a RR1. The RR was then increased over sessions to a RR20. For appetitive testing, animals received weekly drug injections followed by a non-reinforced extinction session. To determine effects of blockade of NAc core mGluR2/3 receptors on agonist-induced suppression of EtOH-seeking, a separate group of male Wistar rats (n=15) was trained to complete a RR10 for access to 10% EtOH. Animals were surgically implanted with bilateral guide cannulae terminating 1mm above the NAc core. Following recovery, animals received four sets of microinjections in a balanced design (systemic vehicle + core vehicle, systemic LY37 + core vehicle, systemic LY37 + core LY34, and systemic vehicle + core LY34). A final non-balanced microinjection of LY37 was then performed.^ Results and Conclusions: Systemic administration of the mGluR2/3 agonist LY37 significantly reduced EtOH- and sucrose- seeking with no systematic effect on locomotion. Systemic administration of the selective mGluR2 PAM BINA had no significant effect on either seeking or consumption. These findings suggest that modulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission by a systemic mGluR2/3 agonist, but not allosteric modulation of mGluR2, significantly reduces reinforcer seeking. Intra- accumbens core administration of LY37 significantly reduced EtOH-seeking, suggesting a role of NAc core mGluR2/3 modulation in EtOH-seeking during maintenance drinking. Systemic administration of LY37 was also found to significantly reduce sucrose consumption and body weight 24-hours following systemic administration, meriting further examination of the role of mGluR2/3 receptors on feeding behavior.