Dopamine neurons in the ventral midbrain contribute to learning and memory of natural and drug-related rewards. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a stress-related peptide, is thought to be involved in aspects of relapse following drug withdrawal, but the cellular actions are poorly understood. This study investigates the action of CRF on G-protein-linked inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) mediated by GIRK (Kir3) channels in dopamine neurons. CRF enhanced the amplitude and slowed the kinetics of IPSCs following activation of D2-dopamine and GABA B receptors. This action was postsynaptic and dependent on the CRF 1 receptor. The enhancement induced by CRF was attenuated by repeated in vivo exposures to psychostimulants or restraint stress. The results indicate that CRF influences dopamine- and GABA-mediated inhibition in the midbrain, suggesting implications for the chronic actions of psychostimulants and stress on dopamine-mediated behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health