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.
Elissa Petruzzi | EurekAlert!
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