Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Silencing synapses to deal with addictions

Date:
December 17, 2013
Source:
University of Pittsburgh
Summary:
Imagine kicking a cocaine addiction by simply popping a pill that alters the way your brain processes chemical addiction. New research suggests that a method of biologically manipulating certain neurocircuits could lead to a pharmacological approach that would weaken post-withdrawal cocaine cravings.

Imagine kicking a cocaine addiction by simply popping a pill that alters the way your brain processes chemical addiction. Research is bringing that one step closer to reality.
Credit: © sframe / Fotolia

Imagine kicking a cocaine addiction by simply popping a pill that alters the way your brain processes chemical addiction. New research from the University of Pittsburgh suggests that a method of biologically manipulating certain neurocircuits could lead to a pharmacological approach that would weaken post-withdrawal cocaine cravings. The findings have been published in Nature Neuroscience.

Related Articles


Researchers led by Pitt neuroscience professor Yan Dong used rat models to examine the effects of cocaine addiction and withdrawal on nerve cells in the nucleus accumbens, a small region in the brain that is commonly associated with reward, emotion, motivation, and addiction. Specifically, they investigated the roles of synapses -- the structures at the ends of nerve cells that relay signals.

When an individual uses cocaine, some immature synapses are generated, which are called "silent synapses" because they send few signals under normal physiological conditions. After that individual quits using cocaine, these "silent synapses" go through a maturation phase and acquire the ability to send signals. Once they can send signals, the synapses will send craving signals for cocaine if the individual is exposed to cues that previously led him or her to use the drug.

The researchers hypothesized that if they could reverse the maturation of the synapses, the synapses would remain silent, thus rendering them unable to send craving signals. They examined a chemical receptor known as CP-AMPAR that is essential for the maturation of the synapses. In their experiments, the synapses reverted to their silent states when the receptor was removed.

"Reversing the maturation process prevents the intensification process of cocaine craving," said Dong, the study's corresponding author and assistant professor of neuroscience in Pitt's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. "We are now developing strategies to maintain the 'reversal' effects. Our goal is to develop biological and pharmacological strategies to produce long-lasting de-maturation of cocaine-generated silent synapses."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh. The original article was written by Melissa Carlson. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian R Lee, Yao-Ying Ma, Yanhua H Huang, Xiusong Wang, Mami Otaka, Masago Ishikawa, Peter A Neumann, Nicholas M Graziane, Travis E Brown, Anna Suska, Changyong Guo, Mary Kay Lobo, Susan R Sesack, Marina E Wolf, Eric J Nestler, Yavin Shaham, Oliver M Schlüter, Yan Dong. Maturation of silent synapses in amygdala-accumbens projection contributes to incubation of cocaine craving. Nature Neuroscience, 2013; 16 (11): 1644 DOI: 10.1038/nn.3533

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh. "Silencing synapses to deal with addictions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217155333.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh. (2013, December 17). Silencing synapses to deal with addictions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217155333.htm
University of Pittsburgh. "Silencing synapses to deal with addictions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217155333.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
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