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

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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 lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>