Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UT Southwestern researchers find clue to understanding tolerance to drugs of abuse


Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and their colleagues have uncovered new information that will help brain researchers better understand a person’s tolerance to drugs of abuse and open new avenues of investigation into the relationship of addictive-drug usage and the biological causes of mood disorders.

Dr. Michel Barrot, assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and lead author of the paper, said researchers used genetically altered mice to show that pain – both physiological and psychological – as well as pleasure can activate changes in the nucleus accumbens, the forebrain structure critical for reward and motivation processes. The findings appeared in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Senior author Dr. Eric Nestler, chairman of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, had previously established that drugs of abuse activate CREB, a specific binding protein known for playing a role in the plasticity and adaptation of nerves in the nucleus accumbens. This action between a drug and a binding site is involved with the learning processes and can affect the interaction between subject and environment.

Barrot worked with Nestler on the earlier research that laid the scientific basis for the study in Proceedings.

Researchers reported that they used viral-mediated gene transfer to deliver and overexpress CREB locally, thus mimicking the CREB hyperactivity seen after the delivery of drugs of abuse or exposure to stress. The mice were then tested for their sensitivity to rewards, such as morphine or sucrose, as well as for their sensitivity to anxiety-causing negative situations or painful stimuli.

"In the paper we show that inducing local CREB hyperactivity decreases the emotional response of an animal in different ways, including those that are rewarding, aversive, anxiety-provoking or hurtful," Barrot said. "On the other hand, a decrease in activity in the CREB site causes the opposite reaction. These data suggest the CREB activity in the shell of the nucleus accumbens controls the behavioral responses to emotional stimuli."

Barrot said the manipulation of the behavioral responses to the emotional stimuli "appears to be independent of either positive or negative intensity of the stimulus."

Nestler said, "This work supports the view that brain-reward regions important for addiction may also be involved in symptoms of depression and implicates the critical role of CREB in controlling the activity of these brain regions."

Ann Harrell | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>