Substance P and dopamine interact to modulate the distribution of delta-opioid receptors on cholinergic interneurons in the striatum

Emily Heath, Billy Chieng, Macdonald J Christie, Bernard W Balleine
European Journal of Neuroscience 2018, 47 (10): 1159-1173
It has been recently demonstrated that predictive learning induces a persistent accumulation of delta-opioid receptors (DOPrs) at the somatic membrane of cholinergic interneurons (CINs) in the nucleus accumbens shell (Nac-S). This accumulation is required for predictive learning to influence subsequent choice between goal-directed actions. The current experiments investigated the local neurochemical events responsible for this translocation. We found that (1) local administration of substance P into multiple striatal sub-territories induced DOPr translocation and (2) that this effect was mediated by the NK1 receptor, likely through its expression on CINs. Interestingly, whereas intrastriatal infusion of the D1 agonist chloro-APB reduced the DOPr translocation on CINs and infusion of the D2 agonist quinpirole had no effect, co-administration of both agonists again generated DOPr translocation, suggesting the effect of the D1 agonist alone was due to receptor internalisation. In support of this, local administration of cocaine was found to increase DOPr translocation as was chloro-APB when co-administered with the DOPr antagonist naltrindole. These studies provide the first evidence of delta-opioid receptor translocation in striatal cholinergic interneurons outside of the accumbens shell and suggest that, despite differences in local striatal neurochemical microenvironments, a similar molecular mechanism - involving an interaction between dopamine and SP signalling via NK1R - regulates DOPr translocation in multiple striatal regions. To our knowledge, this represents a novel mechanism by which DOPr distribution is regulated that may be particularly relevant to learning-induced DOPr trafficking.

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