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Selective Inhibition of PDE4B Reduces Methamphetamine Reinforcement in Two C57BL/6 Substrains


Methamphetamine (MA) is a highly addictive psychostimulant drug, and the number of MA-related overdose deaths has reached epidemic proportions. Repeated MA exposure induces a robust and persistent neuroinflammatory response, and the evidence supports the potential utility of targeting neuroimmune function using non-selective phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitors as a therapeutic strategy for attenuating addiction-related behavior. Off-target, emetic effects associated with non-selective PDE4 blockade led to the development of isozyme-selective inhibitors, of which the PDE4B-selective inhibitor A33 was demonstrated recently to reduce binge drinking in two genetically related C57BL/6 (B6) substrains (C57BL/6NJ (B6NJ) and C57BL/6J (B6J)) that differ in their innate neuroimmune response. Herein, we determined the efficacy of A33 for reducing MA self-administration and MA-seeking behavior in these two B6 substrains. Female and male mice of both substrains were first trained to nose poke for a 100 mg/L MA solution followed by a characterization of the dose-response function for oral MA reinforcement (20 mg/L-3.2 g/L), the demand-response function for 400 mg/L MA, and cue-elicited MA seeking following a period of forced abstinence. During this substrain comparison of MA self-administration, we also determined the dose-response function for A33 pretreatment (0-1 mg/kg) on the maintenance of MA self-administration and cue-elicited MA seeking. Relative to B6NJ mice, B6J mice earned fewer reinforcers, consumed less MA, and took longer to reach acquisition criterion with males of both substrains exhibiting some signs of lower MA reinforcement than their female counterparts during the acquisition phase of the study. A33 pretreatment reduced MA reinforcement at all doses tested. These findings provide the first evidence that pretreatment with a selective PDE4B inhibitor effectively reduces MA self-administration in both male and female mice of two genetically distinct substrains but does not impact cue-elicited MA seeking following abstinence. If relevant to humans, these results posit the potential clinical utility of A33 or other selective PDE4B inhibitors for curbing active drug-taking in MA use disorder.

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