The therapeutic benefits attributed to activation of peripheral mechanoreceptors are poorly understood. There is growing evidence that mechanical stimulation modulates substrates in the supraspinal central nervous system (CNS) that are outside the canonical somatosensory circuits. This work demonstrates that activation of peripheral mechnoreceptors via mechanical stimulation (MStim) is sufficient to increase dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), alter neuron firing rate in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and increase membrane translocation of delta opioid receptors (DORs) in the NAc. Further, we demonstrate that these effects are dependent on DORs and acetylcholine receptors. Additionally, MStim can block neuronal markers of chronic ethanol dependence including ethanol-induced changes to VTA GABA neuron firing during withdrawal, and DA release profiles after reinstatement ethanol during withdrawal. These are presented in tandem with evidence that MStim also ameliorates behavioral indices of ethanol withdrawal. Finally, exercise, a modality that includes a mechanosensory component, is shown to alter expression of kappa opioid receptors (KORs) in the NAc. This change substantively depresses KORs influence over evoked DA release in direct contraversion to the effects of chronic ethanol. These changes translate into reduced drinking behavior.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Neuroscience
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bills, Kyle, "Mechanoreceptor Activation in the Treatment of Drug-Use Disorders: Mechanism and Outcome" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 8627.
mechanoreceptors, dopamine, GABA, nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area, delta-opioid receptors, kappa-opioid receptors, exercise, alcohol, cholinergic interneurons, whole-body vibration