Impairment of cost-benefit decision making in morphine-dependent rats is partly mediated via the alteration of BDNF and p-CREB levels in the nucleus accumbens

Zahra Fatahi, Arman Zeinaddini-Meymand, Sara Karimi, Fariba Khodagholi, Abbas Haghparast
Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 2020 May 16, : 172952
The ability to choose goals based on decision usefulness or the time required to reach the goals chosen are important aspects of decision making. There is considerable evidence in the literature indicating the fact that drug abuse affects different aspects of cognition. In the current study, we assessed the effects of morphine dependence and its withdrawal on cost-benefit decision making and furthermore the involvement of BDNF and p-CREB in the nucleus accumbens, a key brain area involved in decision making was measured. Different groups of male Wistar rats were trained in an effort-based and/or delay-based form of cost-benefit T-maze decision-making task. Thereafter, the animals were morphine dependent and the percentage of the high reward preference was evaluated. After behavioral tests, the BDNF level, and p-CREB/CREB ratio were measured by Western blot analysis. The results showed that during effort-based but not delay-based decision making, BDNF and p-CREB levels increased. During effort-based decision making in morphine dependent rats, BDNF decreased but there was no significant change in p-CREB. Besides, during delay-based decision making in the morphine dependent group, both BDNF and p-CREB did not show any significant change. These findings revealed that BDNF and p-CREB/CREB ratio in the NAc are essential factors for effort-based but not delay-based decision making. In addition, impairment of effort-based decision making in morphine dependent rats is related to the decrease of BDNF level but not p-CREB/CREB ratio in the NAc. However, delay-based decision making defects in morphine dependent rats did not associate with the change in BDNF and p-CREB levels in the NAc.

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