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Mu opioid receptors and neuronal circuits of addiction : genetic approaches in mice

Abstract : Mu opioid receptors mediate the strong analgesic and addictive properties of morphine and heroin;however mu receptor function at circuit levels is not well understood and has been poorly studied by genetic approaches. These receptors are widely expressed throughout the nervous system, essentially in GABAergic neurons. The first aim of my project was to genetically inactivate the mu receptor gene in GABAergic forebrain neurons and study the behavioral consequences. Our study shows that these mu receptors are not implicated in morphine-induced analgesia and physical dependence, but are essential for locomotor effects of heroin. Moreover, our data show that these receptors inhibit motivation to consume heroin and chocolate, revealing an entirely new role for this particular population of mu receptors (Manuscript 1: Mu opioid receptors in GABAergic forebrain neurons are necessary for heroin hyperlocomotion and reduce motivation for heroin and palatable food). Also, mu receptors expressed in forebrain GABAergic neurons are not responsible for the autistic syndrome described in total mu receptor knockout mice (Manuscript 2: Mu opioid receptors in GABAergic forebrain neurons are not involved in autistic-like symptoms). Finally, we developed a new transgenic model targeting the mu receptor gene in glutamatergic neurons, but receptor deletion was not detectable in conditional mice. We also initiated the creation of a transgenic Cre driver line to knockout genes of interest in the extended amygdala, and this tool will enable us to study mu receptor function within this microcircuit.
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Pauline Charbogne. Mu opioid receptors and neuronal circuits of addiction : genetic approaches in mice. Neurobiology. Université de Strasbourg, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015STRAJ030⟩. ⟨tel-01362949⟩

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