Herbert E. Covington

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Previous work has identified alterations in histone acetylation in animal models of drug addiction and depression. However, the mechanisms which integrate drugs and stress with changes in chromatin structure remain unclear. Here, we identify the activity-dependent class II histone deacetylase, HDAC5, as a central integrator of these stimuli with changes in(More)
The nucleus accumbens is a key mediator of cocaine reward, but the distinct roles of the two subpopulations of nucleus accumbens projection neurons, those expressing dopamine D1 versus D2 receptors, are poorly understood. We show that deletion of TrkB, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor, selectively from D1+ or D2+ neurons oppositely(More)
A major impediment to novel drug development has been the paucity of animal models that accurately reflect symptoms of affective disorders. In animal models, prolonged social stress has proven to be useful in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying affective-like disorders. When considering experimental approaches for studying depression, social(More)
Despite abundant expression of DNA methyltransferases (Dnmts) in brain, the regulation and behavioral role of DNA methylation remain poorly understood. We found that Dnmt3a expression was regulated in mouse nucleus accumbens (NAc) by chronic cocaine use and chronic social defeat stress. Moreover, NAc-specific manipulations that block DNA methylation(More)
The molecular mechanisms underlying the transition from recreational drug use to chronic addiction remain poorly understood. One molecule implicated in this process is DeltaFosB, a transcription factor that accumulates in striatum after repeated drug exposure and mediates sensitized behavioral responses to psychostimulants and other drugs of abuse. The(More)
Changes in gene expression contribute to the long-lasting regulation of the brain's reward circuitry seen in drug addiction; however, the specific genes regulated and the transcriptional mechanisms underlying such regulation remain poorly understood. Here, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with promoter microarray analysis to characterize(More)
The impact of ostensibly aversive social stresses on triggering, amplifying and prolonging intensely rewarding drug taking is an apparent contradiction in need of resolution. Social stress encompasses various types of significant life events ranging from maternal separation stress, brief episodes of social confrontations in adolescence and adulthood, to(More)
Repeated exposure to stress induces cross-sensitization to psychostimulants. The present study assessed functional neural activation during social defeat stress-induced sensitization to a subsequent amphetamine challenge. Social defeat stress was induced in intruder rats during short confrontations with an aggressive resident rat once every third day during(More)
In contrast with the many studies of stress effects on the brain, relatively little is known about the molecular mechanisms of resilience, the ability of some individuals to escape the deleterious effects of stress. We found that the transcription factor ΔFosB mediates an essential mechanism of resilience in mice. Induction of ΔFosB in the nucleus(More)
The neural link between ostensibly aversive stress experiences and intensely rewarding drug taking remains to be delineated. Epidemiological data associate stress and the abuse of various drugs, and experimental data identify the conditions that determine how episodic social stress intensifies the motivation for cocaine and the actual self-administration of(More)