Keerthi Thirtamara-Rajamani

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Repeated exposure to cocaine produces changes in the nervous system that facilitate drug-seeking behaviors. These drug-seeking behaviors have been studied with animal models, such as cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization. Cocaine is hypothesized to induce locomotor sensitization by neural changes, including an increase in the density of spines on the(More)
Dopamine signaling in the nucleus accumbens is critical in mediating the effects of cocaine. There are two splice variants of dopamine D2 receptors, D2L and D2S, which are believed to have different functional roles. Here, we show, that knocking down D2L selectively using viral-mediated short-hairpin RNA led to a slight but significant decrease in basal(More)
The nicotinic α5 receptor subunit, encoded by CHRNA5, harbors multiple functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that affect mRNA expression and alter the encoded protein. These polymorphisms are most notably associated with drug-taking behaviors and cognition. We previously identified common SNPs in a distant regulatory element (DRE) that increase(More)
In previous studies, we generated knock-in mice with a cocaine-insensitive dopamine transporter (DAT-CI mice) and found cocaine does not stimulate locomotion or produce reward in these mice, indicating DAT inhibition is necessary for cocaine stimulation and reward. However, DAT uptake is reduced in DAT-CI mice and thus the lack of cocaine responses could be(More)
Cocaine's main pharmacological actions are the inhibition of the dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine transporters. Its main behavioral effects are reward and locomotor stimulation, potentially leading to addiction. Using knock-in mice with a cocaine-insensitive dopamine transporter (DAT-CI mice) we have shown previously that inhibition of the dopamine(More)
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