Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Neurons involved in drug addiction relapse identified

19.08.2003


Environmental cues associated with prior drug use can provoke a relapse. In a new study, scientists have linked the relapse behavior to specific nerve cells in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. The findings may foster further research into what makes long-abstinent drug users prone to relapse and lead the way to new strategies for treating drug addiction.



“The study finds an increase in neuronal activity that persists after the behavioral response of seeking the drug is absent,” says George Koob, PhD, an addiction researcher at the Scripps Research Institute. “This suggests the existence of a neuroadaptation that may make individuals more vulnerable to resuming drug-taking behavior.”

The study appears in the August 13 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience and was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


In the study, rats learned that when a tone was sounded they could press a lever and self-administer cocaine. No cocaine was given if the animal pressed the lever in the absence of the tone. Microelectrodes recorded the activity of single neurons in the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain previously shown to be involved in addiction.

After two weeks of self-administering cocaine, the lever and the tone were removed, and the animals were abstinent for nearly a month. When the lever was returned to the cage, but no cocaine was provided and no tone was sounded, the animals ignored the lever. But when the tone was again sounded, the animals began to press the lever at a fairly high rate, even though no cocaine was given. During this relapse into drug-seeking behavior, neurons in an area of the nucleus accumbens known as the shell were activated by the tone.

The animals eventually stopped pressing the lever—even when the tone was sounded—because no cocaine was dispensed. But brain recordings still showed accumbens neuron activity in response to the tone.

“This activity may reflect the processing of memories that persist even after a long abstinence and may partially explain why environmental cues can provoke a relapse,” says primary author Mark West, PhD, a psychologist at Rutgers University.

West’s co-authors include Udi E. Ghitza, Anthony T. Fabbricatore, Volodymyr Prokopenko and Anthony P. Pawlak. West is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of more than 32,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. The Society publishes The Journal of Neuroscience. West can be reached at (201) 602-3414.

Joe Carey | Society for Neuroscience
Further information:
http://www.sfn.org/content/AboutSFN1/NewsReleases/pr_081803.html

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making Waves

Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.

Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors

29.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways

29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>