Relapse to cocaine use necessitates remodeling excitatory synapses in the nucleus accumbens and synaptic reorganization requires matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) degradation of the extracellular matrix proteins. We found enduring increases in MMP-2 activity in rats after withdrawal from self-administered cocaine and transient increases in MMP-9 during cue-induced cocaine relapse. Cue-induced heroin and nicotine relapse increased MMP activity, and increased MMP activity was required for both cocaine relapse and relapse-associated synaptic plasticity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was support by US National Institutes of Health grants DA003906, DA012513 and DA015369.
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