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.

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 Schlόter, 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 September 17, 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 September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. 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:
from the past week

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