The effects of acute and chronic cocaine treatments on the levels of the neurohypophyseal hormones oxytocin (OXT) and vasopressin (AVP) in the plasma and in different brain structures in rats were measured by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Acute cocaine treatment had no effect on the level of OXT in the plasma or in the amygdala, but increased OXT contents were measured in the hypothalamus and in the hippocampus. The OXT levels in the basal forebrain structures (including the septum and the nucleus accumbens) were decreased by a single dose of cocaine. The acute injection of cocaine increased the level of AVP in the plasma, and decreased contents of OXT were measured in the amygdala and in the basal forebrain. Repeated treatment with cocaine decreased the level of OXT in the plasma, hypothalamus and hippocampus. The AVP contents were decreased in all of the brain structures investigated, but no change was caused in the plasma level of AVP by repeated injections of cocaine. These results demonstrate complex, region-specific interactions between cocaine and the neurohypophyseal hormones in the brain and in the periphery underlying the alteration in behavioral and autonomic functions caused by acute and chronic cocaine exposure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience