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NF-κB signaling and vesicle transport are correlated with the reactivation of the memory trace of morphine dependence

Junyi Ye1, Zhaoyang Yang2, Candong Li2, Meimei Cai2, Daizhan Zhou3, Qin Zhang2, Yiming Wei4, Ting Wang5 and Yun Liu16*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China

2 Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, PR China

3 Bio-X Institutes, Key Laboratory for the Genetics of Developmental and Neuropsychiatric Disorders (Ministry of Education), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, PR China

4 Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, PR China

5 Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, PR China

6 Key Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Ministry of Education, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Fudan University Shanghai Medical College, 303 Mingdao Building, 138 Yixueyuan Road, Shanghai 200032, PR China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2014, 9:142  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-9-142

Published: 10 July 2014



Morphine has been widely used as a clinical anesthetic and analgesic. However, abuse of morphine might result in psychological and physiological dependence. Previous studies have indicated that memory mechanisms play critical roles in morphine dependence.


Morphine dependence was established in mice utilizing place preference conditioning (CPP). We observed changes in the methylome and transcriptome of the nucleus accumbens during the reactivation of the memory trace. We also monitored for changes in the methylome and transcriptome of mice that were acutely exposed to morphine.


We detected 165 and 18 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and 6 and 24 significant methyl-sensitive cut counting (MSCC) windows in the acute morphine treatment and the CPP model, respectively. The changes in the methylome and transcriptome during the acute treatment were mainly caused by a response to the morphine stimulus; most of the DEGs were correlated with hormone or transcription factor activity regulation. The expression levels of Lcn2 and Hspb1, which participate in the activation of NF-κB, were significantly decreased in the CPP morphine treatment model. Besides, the alternative splicing of the curtailed isoform of Caps1 was significantly increased in the CPP morphine-treated group, and the methylation levels of Arf4, Vapa, and Gga3 were decreased. These genes play critical roles in the regulation of the Golgi network.


The current study indicates that NF-κB signaling and vesicular transport are correlated with the reactivation of the memory trace in morphine-dependent mice. The results obtained in our study agree with previous observations and identify additional candidate genes for further research.

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: webcite

CPP; Morphine; Transcriptome; Methylome; NF-κB