Targeting the Toll of Drug Abuse: The Translational Potential of Toll-Like Receptor 4

Author(s): Ryan Bachtell, Mark R. Hutchinson, Xiaohui Wang, Kenner C. Rice, Steven F. Maier, Linda R. Watkins.

Journal Name: CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets

Volume 14 , Issue 6 , 2015

Abstract:

There is growing recognition that glial proinflammatory activation importantly contributes to the rewarding and reinforcing effects of a variety of drugs of abuse, including cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, and alcohol. It has recently been proposed that glia are recognizing, and becoming activated by, such drugs as a CNS immunological response to these agents being xenobiotics; that is, substances foreign to the brain. Activation of glia, primarily microglia, by various drugs of abuse occurs via toll like receptor 4 (TLR4). The detection of such xenobiotics by TLR4 results in the release of glial neuroexcitatory and neurotoxic substances. These glial products of TLR4 activation enhance neuronal excitability within brain reward circuitry, thereby enhancing their rewarding and reinforcing effects. Indeed, selective pharmacological blockade of TLR4 activation, such as with the non-opioid TLR4 antagonist (+)-naltrexone, suppresses a number of indices of drug reward/reinforcement. These include: conditioned place preference, self-administration, drugprimed reinstatement, incubation of craving, and elevations of nucleus accumbens shell dopamine. Notably, TLR4 blockade fails to alter self-administration of food, indicative of a selective effect on drugs of abuse. Genetic disruption of TLR4 signaling recapitulates the effects of pharmacological TLR4 blockade, providing converging lines of evidence of a central importance of TLR4. Taken together, multiple lines of evidence converge to raise TLR4 as a promising therapeutic target for drug abuse.

Keywords: (+)-naloxone, (+)-naltrexone, alcohol, cocaine, drug reward, drug reinforcement, morphine, opioid, psychostimulants, reinstatement.

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

VOLUME: 14
ISSUE: 6
Year: 2015
Page: [692 - 699]
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.2174/1871527314666150529132503
Price: $58

Article Metrics

PDF: 48