To identify signaling pathways activated by oxycodone self-administration (SA), Sprague-Dawley rats self-administered oxycodone for 20 days using short-access (ShA, 3 h) and long-access (LgA, 9 h) paradigms. Animals were euthanized two hours after SA cessation and dorsal striata were used in post-mortem molecular analyses. LgA rats escalated their oxycodone intake and separated into lower (LgA-L) or higher (LgA-H) oxycodone takers. LgA-H rats showed increased striatal protein phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and MSK1/2. Histone H3, phosphorylated at serine 10 and acetylated at lysine 14 (H3S10pK14Ac), a MSK1/2 target, showed increased abundance only in LgA-H rats. RT-qPCR analyses revealed increased AMPA receptor subunits, GluA2 and GluA3 mRNAs in the LgA-H rats. GluA3, but not GluA2, expression correlated positively with changes in pMSK1/2 and H3S10pK14Ac. Our findings indicate that escalated oxycodone SA results in MSK1/2-dependent histone phosphorylation, which promoted increases in striatal gene expression. Our observations offer novel avenues for pharmacological interventions against oxycodone addiction.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience