Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Potential drug target for treating cocaine abuse found

23.02.2005


A substance similar to a drug used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease blocks the stimulating effects of cocaine and could potentially be used to develop drug therapy for cocaine abuse, new research shows.

In an article published in the February 23, 2005, issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, Jonathan Katz and his colleagues at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) report the results of experiments showing that mice treated with a substance similar to the drug benztropine did not show any of the typical hyperactive behavior when later injected with cocaine. This effect wore off after a day.

Cocaine produces intense feelings of euphoria by increasing the amount of dopamine that is sent from one neuron to another within the brain reward system. Dopamine signals pleasure and reward by binding to receptors on the receiving neurons, after which it is reabsorbed for later use by a protein that transports it back into the sending neuron. But cocaine blocks the mechanism that transports dopamine, causing it to build up and send an unceasing message of pleasure – the cocaine high.



Researchers have long searched for "a molecule that would block cocaine’s effects on the transporter without inhibiting the transporter by itself," notes Eric Nestler, chair of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "This article reports early studies with just such a compound." Although the results are preliminary, this breakthrough shows that it may be possible to develop drugs that block cocaine’s stimulating effects, and perhaps its power to addict, Nestler says.

Researchers previously thought that different chemicals that prevent the reabsorption of dopamine would all have the same stimulating effect on the brain. The new study shows this may not be true. "In fact, the interaction between dopamine trans-porters and the substances that bind to them may depend on the chemical structure of those substances," says NIDA’s Amy Newman, who synthesized the compound. The researchers found that their novel drug made contact with transporters slowly – about 10 times slower than cocaine – which, they speculate, may be why it does not have a stimulating effect.

Between 2 million and 3.2 million people in the United States – about 1 percent of the population - use cocaine, according to estimates. Of this number, more than 550,000 are crack users. In 2002, 1.5 million Americans were thought to be dependent on or abusing cocaine. "Cocaine is capable of destroying not only the lives of those addicted, but also the lives of those around them," says Katz. "An effective treatment for cocaine addiction would be of immeasurable help to these individuals and their families."

Elissa Petruzzi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sfn.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>