Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCI neurobiologists find treatment to block memory-related drug cravings

16.09.2005


Animal study shows potential for new therapies to aid drug-addiction recovery efforts



A novel chemical compound that blocks memory-related drug cravings has the potential to be the basis of new therapies to aid drug-addiction recovery efforts, UC Irvine neurobiologists have found.

Because exposure to people, places and objects previously associated with a drug habit can trigger overwhelming memory-based cravings, many former drug users often relapse into drug-taking behavior.


But a study led by John F. Marshall, a researcher in UCI’s Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, shows that memory for places associated with cocaine use can be strikingly altered by inactivating a specific protein called ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) in the brains of animals. Especially significant is the finding that administering the inactivator compound immediately after recall of the cocaine-associated places also continued to blur memories of those places weeks later. This research provides novel insights into the brain mechanisms underlying relapse and suggests a new strategy for developing addiction treatments.

Study results appear in the Sept. 15 issue of Neuron.

“Our findings suggest that memories responsible for relapse in drug addicts may be similarly disrupted by a therapeutic agent targeting ERK or related proteins,” Marshall said. “This work, however, is a first step toward subsequent efforts that can produce effective drug-addiction therapies.”

In the study, Marshall and graduate student Courtney A. Miller employed rats that shuttled between two distinctive environments, one which offered cocaine. Because of the drug’s strong rewarding properties, these animals quickly learned which of the two compartments was associated with the cocaine and preferred to spend time in that environment.

The researchers were then able to block the rats’ strong memory for the cocaine-associated environment by infusing a drug that inactivates ERK – a chemical compound called U0126 – into a brain region that rewards learning. Most importantly, this inhibitory effect was long lasting, with the memory blocked for at least two weeks after the single infusion.

Continuing research by Marshall and his colleagues investigates how this ERK inactivation affects the brain to block memory for cocaine-associated places.

Marshall is professor of neurobiology and behavior in the UCI School of Biological Sciences. The National Institute of Drug Abuse provided support for the study.

About the University of California, Irvine: Celebrating 40 years of innovation, the University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.

Tom Vasich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.today.uci.edu
http://www.uci.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>