Release of a growth factor in the nucleus accumbens - a brain area mediating reward - is necessary for the development and relapse of cocaine addiction, reports a paper in the August 2007 issue of Nature Neuroscience.
Addictive drugs are thought to 'hijack' reward systems in the brain, causing neurons to be persistently more responsive to drug-associated cues and stressors. David Self and colleagues report that four hours after cocaine self-administration, rats show an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the nucleus accumbens. Preventing this increase in BDNF reduced cocaine self-administration and the propensity to relapse, whereas giving the rats daily BDNF injections after cocaine self-administration increased cocaine-seeking behaviour and relapse. Moreover, using mice that were genetically engineered to lack BDNF only in the nucleus accumbens in adulthood, they showed that BDNF release in the nucleus accumbens did not affect the initial rewarding effects of cocaine, but did dramatically alter the development of addiction. If similar mechanisms mediate addiction in humans, these results could suggest possible approaches to addiction treatment.
David Self (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA)
Additional contact for comment on paper:
Geoffrey Schoenbaum (University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Neuroscience press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
Bookmark and Share this page (what is this?)
Social bookmarking allows users to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. This is different to using your own browser bookmarks which are available using the menus within your web browser.
Use the links below to share this article on the social bookmarking site of your choice.
Read more about social bookmarking at Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking