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Sex Differences in the Rat Hippocampal Opioid System After Oxycodone Conditioned Place Preference.

ABSTRACT: 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 (3?mg/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.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6246823 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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