Cocaine or ecstasy consumption during adolescence increases risk of addiction
Exposure to ecstasy or cocaine during adolescence increases the "reinforcing effects" that make people vulnerable to developing an addiction. This is the main conclusion of a research team from the University of Valencia (UV), which has shown for the first time how these changes persist into adulthood.
"Although MDMA and cocaine are psychoactive substances frequently used by teenagers, very few studies have been done to analyse the short and long-term consequences of joint exposure to these drugs", José Miñarro, lead author of the study and coordinator of the Psychobiology of Drug Addiction group at the UV, tells SINC.
The study, published in the journal Addiction Biology, shows for the first time that exposure to these drugs during adolescence leads to long-lasting changes that increase the reinforcing power of ecstasy or MDMA, and which last until adulthood.
Miñarro's team studied the joint consumption of different drugs in order to carry out an in-depth examination into the effects of this interaction. The scientists administered MDMA, cocaine and saline solution to mice over an eight-day period. "The animals exhibited an increase in vulnerability to re-establishing behaviour (relapse), showing a preference for certain environments previously associated with the pleasant effects of the drug", explains Miñarro.
The results highlight that the so-called "reinforcing effects" are greater in adult mice treated with ecstasy or cocaine during adolescence than in adolescent mice not exposed to these drugs. "Adolescence is a critical stage in development, during which time drug consumption affects plastic cerebral processes in ways that cause changes that persist right through to adulthood", adds the scientist.
Adolescence – the kingdom of polyconsumption
The results of various surveys, both national and international, show that one of the most common patterns of drug use is polyconsumption. Ecstasy is regularly consumed alongside other drugs such as alcohol, cannabis and cocaine. These same surveys show that 44% of cocaine users in Spain also take ecstasy, and this consumption takes place primarily during adolescence.
The State Study on Drug Use among Secondary School Students (ESTUDES 2007, Government Delegation for the National Plan on Drugs), showed that more than 75% of secondary school students who reported taking MDMA also said they used cocaine, while only 44.3% of cocaine users said they took ecstasy.
References: Manuel Daza-Losada, Marta Rodríguez-Arias, María A. Aguilar & José Miñarro. "Acquisition and reinstatement of MDMA-induced conditioned place preference in mice pre-treated with MDMA or cocaine during adolescence". Addiction Biology 14, 447-456, octubre de 2009.
SINC | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
New technique promises tunable laser devices
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...