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Simvastatin Blocks Reinstatement of Cocaine-induced Conditioned Place Preference in Male Mice with Brain Lipidome Remodeling


Drug-associated reward memories are conducive to intense craving and often trigger relapse. Simvastatin has been shown to regulate lipids that are involved in memory formation but its influence on other cognitive processes is elusive. Here, we used a mass spectrometry-based lipidomic method to evaluate the impact of simvastatin on the mouse brain in a cocaine-induced reinstatement paradigm. We found that simvastatin blocked the reinstatement of cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) without affecting CPP acquisition. Specifically, only simvastatin administered during extinction prevented cocaine-primed reinstatement. Global lipidome analysis showed that the nucleus accumbens was the region with the greatest degree of change caused by simvastatin. The metabolism of fatty-acids, phospholipids, and triacylglycerol was profoundly affected. Simvastatin reversed most of the effects on phospholipids induced by cocaine. The correlation matrix showed that cocaine and simvastatin significantly reshaped the lipid metabolic pathways in specific brain regions. Furthermore, simvastatin almost reversed all changes in the fatty acyl profile and unsaturation caused by cocaine. In summary, pre-extinction treatment with simvastatin facilitates cocaine extinction and prevents cocaine relapse with brain lipidome remodeling.

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This work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81871043 and 82071494), the National Science and Technology Major Project of China (2018ZX09201017 and 2018ZX09201018), and the 1·3·5 Project for Disciplines of Excellence, West China Hospital, Sichuan University (ZYGD18024).

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Correspondence to Xiaobo Cen.

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Xu, W., He, Y., Zhang, J. et al. Simvastatin Blocks Reinstatement of Cocaine-induced Conditioned Place Preference in Male Mice with Brain Lipidome Remodeling. Neurosci. Bull. (2021).

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  • Simvastatin
  • Cocaine relapse
  • Extinction
  • Lipidome
  • Conditioned place preference