Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Yerkes researchers discover natural brain chemical reduces effects of cocaine


Researchers led by Jason Jaworski, PhD, and Michael Kuhar, PhD, both at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University, have shown that CART peptide, a chemical that occurs naturally in both the rodent and human brain, reduces some effects of cocaine when additional amounts are administered to the region of the brain that is associated with reward and addiction. These findings, which were presented on November 8 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans, appear in the December issue of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and suggest CART peptide receptors in the brain could be targets for developing medications to treat cocaine abuse.

For their study, Dr. Jaworski, a post-doctoral fellow, and Dr. Kuhar, chief of the Neuroscience Division at Yerkes and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, infused CART peptide into the nucleus accumbens (NA) of rodents to determine how it affects the increase of body movement, or locomotor activity, that is widely seen as one effect of psychostimulant drugs. The researchers observed that the cocaine-induced movement was reduced after the rodents received CART peptide. "This is the first study to demonstrate CART peptides in the nucleus accumbens hinder the effects of cocaine," said Dr. Jaworski. "Our findings open a door to develop potential treatment options for cocaine addiction."

When infused into other areas of the "pleasure pathway," the part of the brain in both rodents and humans that is activated when cocaine is administered, CART peptide has been shown to produce minimal psychostimulant-like effects. "Past studies have shown CART peptide is slightly cocaine-like in other areas of the brain, but nevertheless inhibits further stimulation from the drug," said Dr. Kuhar. "While additional research will be necessary, we have demonstrated the importance of CART peptide in combating or slowing down some of the effects of cocaine."

The researchers’ immediate next steps are to study CART peptide’s mechanism of action on the brain, as well as to determine if rodents who have been treated with CART peptide will administer less cocaine to themselves than those that have not been treated. They hope to determine how CART peptide produces the "anti-cocaine" effect so they can one day begin to develop treatments for cocaine addiction in humans.

The Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University is one of eight National Primate Research Centers funded by the National Institutes of Health. The Yerkes Research Center is a multidisciplinary research institute recognized as a leader in biomedical and behavioral studies with nonhuman primates. Yerkes scientists are on the forefront of developing vaccines for AIDS and malaria, and treatments for cocaine addiction and Parkinson’s disease. Other research programs include cognitive development and decline, childhood visual defects, organ transplantation, the behavioral effects of hormone replacement therapy and social behaviors of primates. Leading researchers located worldwide seek to collaborate with Yerkes scientists.

Lisa Newbern | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Strong, steady forces at work during cell division
20.10.2016 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Disturbance wanted
20.10.2016 | Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>