Camkii modulates diacylglycerol lipase-α activity in the rat nucleus accumbens after incubation of cocaine craving

Conor H. Murray, Andrew D. Gaulden, Alex B. Kawa, Mike Milovanovic, Aaron J. Caccamise, Jonathan R. Funke, Sachin Patel, Marina E. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Relapse is a major challenge to the treatment of substance use disorders. A progressive increase in cue-induced drug craving, termed incubation of craving, is observed after withdrawal from multiple drugs of abuse in humans and rodents. Incubation of cocaine craving involves the strengthening of excitatory synapses onto nucleus accumbens (NAc) medium spiny neurons via postsynaptic accumulation of high-conductance Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors. This enhances reactivity to drug-associated cues and is required for the expression of incubation. Additionally, incubation of cocaine craving is associated with loss of the synaptic depression normally triggered by stimulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5), leading to endocannabinoid production, and expressed presynaptically via cannabinoid receptor 1 activation. Previous studies have found alterations in mGlu5 and Homer proteins associated with the loss of this synaptic depression. Here we conducted coimmunoprecipitation studies to investigate associations of diacylglyc-erol lipase-α (DGL), which catalyzes formation of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), with mGlu5 and Homer proteins. Although these interactions were unchanged in the NAc core at incubation-relevant withdrawal times, the association of DGL with total and phosphorylated Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IIα (CaMKIIα) and CaMKIIβ was increased. This would be predicted, based on other studies, to inhibit DGL activity and therefore 2-AG production. This was confirmed by measuring DGL enzymatic activity. However, the magnitude of DGL inhibition did not correlate with the magnitude of incubation of craving for individual rats. These results suggest that CaMKII contributes to the loss of mGlu5-dependent synaptic depression after incubation, but the functional significance of this loss remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0220-21.2021
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • CaMKII
  • Cocaine
  • Diacylglycerol lipase
  • Incubation of craving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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