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 The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water cooling for the Earth's crust

23.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nano-watch has steady hands

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Batteries with better performance and improved safety

23.11.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>