Background: Experiencing traumatic childhood is a risk factor for developing substance use disorder (SUD), but the mechanisms that underlie this relationship have not been determined. Adverse childhood experiences affect the immune system and the immune system mediates the effects of psychostimulants. However, whether this system is involved in the etiology of SUD in individuals who have experience early life stress is unknown. Methods:In this study, we performed a series of ex vivo and in vivo experiments in mice and humans to define the function of the immune system in the early-life stress-induced susceptibility to the neurobehavioral effects of cocaine. Results: We provide evidence that exposure to social-stress (S-S) at an early age permanently sensitizes the peripheral (splenocytes) and brain (microglia) immune responses to cocaine in mice. In the brain, microglial activation in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of S-S mice was associated with functional alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission, as measured by whole-cell voltage clamp recordings in dopamine (DA) neurons. Notably, preventing immune activation during the S-S exposure reverted the effects of DA in the VTA and the cocaine-induced behavioral phenotype to control levels. In humans, cocaine modulated Toll-like receptor 4-mediated innate immunity, an effect that was enhanced in cocaine addicts who had experienced a difficult childhood. Conclusions Collectively, our findings demonstrate that sensitization to cocaine in early-life-stressed individuals involves brain and peripheral immune responses and that this mechanism is shared between mice and humans.

From traumatic childhood to cocaine abuse: the critical function of the immune system / Lo Iacono, Luisa; Catale, Clarissa; Martini, Alessandro; Valzania, Alessandro; Viscomi, Maria Teresa; Chiurchiù, Valerio; Guatteo, Ezia; Bussone, Silvia; Perrone, Fabiana; Di Sabato, Paola; Aricò, Eleonora; D’Argenio, Alberto; Troisi, Alfonso; Mercuri, Nicola B.; Maccarrone, Mauro; Puglisi-Allegra, Stefano; Casella, Pietro; Carola, Valeria. - In: BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY. - ISSN 0006-3223. - 84:12(2018), pp. -905. [10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.05.022]

From traumatic childhood to cocaine abuse: the critical function of the immune system

Lo Iacono, Luisa;CATALE, CLARISSA;MARTINI, Alessandro;Valzania, Alessandro;Bussone, Silvia
Investigation
;
Puglisi-Allegra, Stefano;Carola, Valeria
Ultimo
2018

Abstract

Background: Experiencing traumatic childhood is a risk factor for developing substance use disorder (SUD), but the mechanisms that underlie this relationship have not been determined. Adverse childhood experiences affect the immune system and the immune system mediates the effects of psychostimulants. However, whether this system is involved in the etiology of SUD in individuals who have experience early life stress is unknown. Methods:In this study, we performed a series of ex vivo and in vivo experiments in mice and humans to define the function of the immune system in the early-life stress-induced susceptibility to the neurobehavioral effects of cocaine. Results: We provide evidence that exposure to social-stress (S-S) at an early age permanently sensitizes the peripheral (splenocytes) and brain (microglia) immune responses to cocaine in mice. In the brain, microglial activation in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of S-S mice was associated with functional alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission, as measured by whole-cell voltage clamp recordings in dopamine (DA) neurons. Notably, preventing immune activation during the S-S exposure reverted the effects of DA in the VTA and the cocaine-induced behavioral phenotype to control levels. In humans, cocaine modulated Toll-like receptor 4-mediated innate immunity, an effect that was enhanced in cocaine addicts who had experienced a difficult childhood. Conclusions Collectively, our findings demonstrate that sensitization to cocaine in early-life-stressed individuals involves brain and peripheral immune responses and that this mechanism is shared between mice and humans.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/1123019
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