Protein phosphorylation is an important mechanism for the post-translational modulation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor functions. In the present study, we investigated the levels of NR2B phosphorylation at Tyr1472 and Ser1303 in the nucleus accumbens, striatum, frontal cortex, and hippocampus of rats that exhibit behavioral sensitization to nicotine. Repeated treatment of rats with nicotine (0.6. mg/kg, s.c., for 7 days) produced locomotor sensitization accompanied by increased NR2B phosphorylation at Tyr1472 in the nucleus accumbens and striatum, brain regions involved in behavioral sensitization. In contrast, no changes in NR2B phosphorylation were observed after a single treatment with nicotine in these brain regions. In addition, no changes in NR2B phosphorylation at Ser1303 were observed after repeated treatment with nicotine in any examined brain regions. These results suggest that repeated treatment with nicotine induces NR2B phosphorylation at Tyr1472 in the nucleus accumbens and striatum, which might contribute to the development of synaptic and behavioral plasticity in response to nicotine.
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