Brain receptor found to significantly affect cocaine addiction

Jun 18, 2015 – 11:08 am EST

Brain receptor found to significantly affect cocaine addiction

Researchers at the University at Buffalo acquire discovered a previously unknown neural pathway that can regulate changes made in the brain debt to cocaine use, providing new thorough knowledge into the molecular basis of cocaine devotedness.

“Addiction is a life-drawn out affliction manifested by episodes of lapse, despite prolonged abstinence,” says Amy Gancarz, PhD, show the way author of the study, which was published steady June 1 in an Advance Online Publication in Nature Neuroscience. “There is a distress to more fully understand the lingering-term molecular changes in the brain involved in unsalable article craving and relapse.”

Gancarz, a author postdoctoral associate with the UB Research Institute attached Addictions (RIA), worked on the study in a less degree than the direction of senior author David Dietz, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Dietz is also a faculty member in UB’s Neuroscience Program and each affiliated scientist with RIA.

The study construct that by manipulating the activity of Activin receptors—receptors mould in the brain—the researchers were quick to increase or decrease cocaine-agitation and relapse behavior in animal models. The study focused, specifically, attached Activin receptors in regions of the brain that are involved in temporary happiness and reward.

“There are changes in the brain caused ~ means of drug use that occur and persist, but are only unmasked after removal from a drug – in this sheathe, cocaine,” Dietz says. “Cocaine application alters the connections between certain neurons through changes in the shape of the cells.”

Brain receptor found to significantly affect cocaine addiction The researchers discovered that the Activin footway controls the ability of cocaine to impel this change in the neurons and determined that the Activin receptor may rule this response to cocaine by regulating the play of features of a number of genes.

“Understanding this precarious pathway will help us pursue renovated directions in potential pharmacological and gene therapies to debar drug relapses,” Dietz says. “If we can control this pathway, we may have ~ing able to help prevent relapses in persons who have been abstinent from cocaine.”


Study co-authors hold Zi-Jun Wang, PhD, Gabrielle L. Schroeder, PhD, Kevin M. Braunscheidel, PhD, Lauren E. Mueller, PhD, Monica S. Humby, PhD, Aaron Caccamise, PhD, Jennifer A. Martin, PhD, and Karen C. Dietz, PhD, of the UB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Diane Damez-Werno, PhD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York; and Rachael L. Neve, PhD, of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo (UB) and a public leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s investigation programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported through federal, state and private foundation grants. Located without ceasing UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a portion of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a lock opener contributor to UB’s reputation against research excellence.


Cathy Wilde
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University at Buffalo

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