Disrupting astrocyte-neuron lactate transfer persistently reduces conditioned responses to cocaine
A central problem in the treatment of drug addiction is the high risk of relapse often precipitated by drug-associated cues. The transfer of glycogen-derived lactate from astrocytes to neurons is required for long-term memory. Whereas blockade of drug memory reconsolidation represents a potential therapeutic strategy, the role of astrocyte-neuron lactate transport in long-term conditioning has received little attention. By infusing an inhibitor of glycogen phosphorylase into the basolateral amygdala of rats, we report that disruption of astrocyte-derived lactate not only transiently impaired the acquisition of a cocaine-induced conditioned place preference but also persistently disrupted an established conditioning. The drug memory was rescued by L-Lactate co-administration through a mechanism requiring the synaptic plasticity-related transcription factor Zif268 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signalling pathway but not the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf). The long-term amnesia induced by glycogenolysis inhibition and the concomitant decreased expression of phospho-ERK were both restored with L-Lactate co-administration. These findings reveal a critical role for astrocyte-derived lactate in positive memory formation and highlight a novel amygdala-dependent reconsolidation process, whose disruption may offer a novel therapeutic target to reduce the long-lasting conditioned responses to cocaine.