Inactivation of PKMζ in the NAc shell abolished cocaine-conditioned reward

D. Shabashov, E. Shohami, R. Yaka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Preventing relapse to drug use is a major challenge for the treatment of drug addiction. Environmental cues are among the major determinants of relapse in abstinent cocaine users. The protein kinase M ζ (PKMζ) is involved in the generation and maintenance of long-term potentiation and is critical in memory storage. Here we show that inhibition of PKMζ in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell, a major component of the reward system that plays an important role in mediating drug craving and relapse, by a selective inhibitor ζ inhibitory peptide (ZIP), abolished cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP). However, the injection of ZIP into the NAc core resulted in earlier onset of CPP extinction. Finally, we found that the levels of PKMζ and GluR2 in the NAc remained unchanged, while the GluR1 levels were elevated following CPP and fully reversed by ZIP injection. Together, our results suggest that inactivation of PKMζ in the NAc may result in the dissociation between the rewarding properties of the drug and the drug-related environment and may serve as a novel target for the treatment of drug relapse.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)546-553
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 144/10) and the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel (NIPI) founded by the Charles E. Smith family. R. Yaka and E. Shohami are affiliated with the David R. Bloom Center for Pharmacy and the Brettler Center for Research in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


  • Addiction
  • Cocaine
  • Conditioned place preference
  • GluR1
  • GluR2
  • Memory
  • PKMζ
  • ZIP


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