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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Aug 2023 - 11 Aug 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Aug 03

Brain Behav Immun


A novel role for astrocytic fragmented mitochondria in regulating morphine addiction.


Rao J, Sun W, Wang X, Li J, Zhang Z, Zhou F


Chronic morphine exposure causes the development of addictive behaviors, accompanied by an increase in neuroinflammation in the central nervous system. While previous researches have shown that astrocytes contribute to brain diseases, the role of astrocyte in morphine addiction through induced neuroinflammation remain unexplored. Here we show that morphine-induced inflammation requires the crosstalk among neuron, astrocyte, and microglia. Specifically, astrocytes respond to morphine-induced neuronal activation by increasing glycolytic metabolism. The dysregulation of glycolysis leads to an increased in the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and causes excessive mitochondrial fragmentation in astrocytes. These fragmented, dysfunctional mitochondria are consequently released into extracellular environment, leading to activation of microglia and release of inflammatory cytokines. We also found that blocking the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide salvage pathway with FK866 could inhibit astrocytic glycolysis and restore the mitochondrial homeostasis and effectively attenuate neuroinflammatory responses. Importantly, FK866 reversed morphine-induced addictive behaviors in mice. In summary, our findings illustrate an essential role of astrocytic immunometabolism in morphine induced neural and behavioral plasticity, providing a novel insight into the interactions between neurons, astrocytes, and microglia in the brain affected by chronic morphine exposure.