Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Receptor Switches Addiction On, Off

Date:
January 21, 2004
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
The discovery of a molecular "addiction switch" in the mammalian brain has the potential to control the addiction process in drug addicts, say University of Toronto researchers.

The discovery of a molecular "addiction switch" in the mammalian brain has the potential to control the addiction process in drug addicts, say University of Toronto researchers.

Related Articles


A study published Jan. 18 in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience finds that a region of the brain called the VTA contains receptors that, when exposed to a certain enzyme, can control the switch from an addicted to non-addicted state and back again. This goes against previous ideas that viewed drug addiction as a permanent change in the brain, says lead author Steven Laviolette who conducted the research while a PhD student at U of T's Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology with senior author Professor Derek van der Kooy.

"Our findings suggest that instead of a permanent alteration in the brain, there's actually a switch that goes on between two separate systems (one that mediates the brain's response to drugs while not yet addicted and the other that mediates response once addicted)," says Laviolette. "They also suggest we may be able to manipulate that switch pharmacologically to take drug addicts back to a non-addicted state in a relatively short period of time so they do not crave the drug."

The switch is a brain receptor known as GABA-A; an enzyme - carbonic anhydrase - produced by the body controls how the receptor behaves. In studies with rats, the researchers were able to manipulate the enzyme with a drug to control whether it turned this switch on or off. Without such intervention, the brain can switch back to a non-addicted state following a period of withdrawal from drugs - a process often measured in weeks. By manipulating the enzyme pharmacologically, however, that return to a non-addicted state in rats has been reduced to a matter of hours, says Laviolette, now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh.

"The same anatomical pathways that we're manipulating in rats also exist in humans so we hope that this will be applicable to human drug addiction as well," he says.

Collaborators on the study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, included Roger Gallegos and Steven Henriksen of the Scripps Research Institute in California.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Brain Receptor Switches Addiction On, Off." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040121075617.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (2004, January 21). Brain Receptor Switches Addiction On, Off. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040121075617.htm
University Of Toronto. "Brain Receptor Switches Addiction On, Off." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040121075617.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research Says Complex Tools Might Not Be 'Our Thing' Anymore

Research Says Complex Tools Might Not Be 'Our Thing' Anymore

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2015) The use of complex tools has often been seen as a defining characteristic of humanity, but that notion is now in question. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins