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2012 | 72 | 1 |
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Psychomotor and rewarding properties of the neurosteroids dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate and androsterone: Effects on monoamine and steroid metabolism

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The neurosteroids, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and androsterone, are implicated in drug addictions. We examined their influence on locomotor activity and reward in male Wistar rats, and on steroid and monoamine metabolism in the hippocampus and striatum. In the open field test, DHEAS injections (10, 40, 80 mg/kg, i.p.) 30 min prior the test had no significant effect on ambulation, but androsterone (10 mg/kg) increased general locomotion and at doses 1-10 mg/kg, increased central field activity, suggestive of an anxiolytic action. In the conditioned place preference test, both steroids had a biphasic effect: DHEAS was rewarding at doses of 10 and 40 mg/kg, but not at 80 mg/kg, while androsterone was rewarding at doses of 1 and 10 mg/kg, but aversive at 40 mg/kg. Monoamine and steroid concentrations were analyzed in homogenates from the hippocampus and striatum of DHEAS and androsterone injected rats. DHEAS reduced the hippocampal dopamine level, increased striatal homovanilic acid (HVA) and decreased the striatal serotonin concentrations. Androsterone did not affect dopamine levels or turnover, but increased noradrenaline concentration and serotonin turnover in the hippocampus. DHEAS administration augmented concentrations of DHEA, pregnenolone, androstendiol and androstentriol in both brain structures, while androsterone injections increased brain levels of androsterone, epiandrosterone, 5a-dihydrotestosterone, and androstandiol. Present data document that although psychobehavioral and neurochemical effects of DHEAS and androsterone differ in several aspects; both neurosteroids have rewarding properties at certain dose ranges, suggesting their likely involvement in addictions, which entail different mechanisms.
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  • Department of Neurology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
  • Marie Curie Program (EC), Department of Pharmacology and Physiology of the Nervous System, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland
  • Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
  • Department of Steroid Hormones, Institute of Endocrinology, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Marie Curie Program (EC), Department of Pharmacology and Physiology of the Nervous System, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland
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