Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology, treatment?

Date:
June 30, 2014
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Current pharmacotherapies for addiction follow the dictum 'one size fits all'. Medications are prescribed in the same way for all patients, regardless of whether they have just started experimenting with a drug or have an established drug habit. Even more troubling, there are no FDA-approved pharmacotherapies for some addictions, such as compulsive cocaine use.

Current pharmacotherapies for addiction follow the dictum "one size fits all." Medications are prescribed in the same way for all patients, regardless of whether they have just started experimenting with a drug or have an established drug habit. Even more troubling, there are no FDA-approved pharmacotherapies for some addictions, such as compulsive cocaine use. Perhaps testing drugs in ways that focus on particular phases of addiction or particular clinical features of addiction, such as a patient's level of impulsivity, might advance the development of drug treatments for cocaine addiction.

Addiction is characterized by a transition from strategic drug-seeking (i.e., where a decision is made to try a drug to generate a desired effect) to habitual drug-seeking (i.e., where the behavior is triggered by the availability of drugs, particularly in contexts associated with drug use). Habitual drug use is less dependent than strategic use on whether the person actually enjoys the effects of the drug or whether there are negative subjective effects or problems associated with taking the substance. The transition from strategic to habitual drug-seeking is associated with changes in the brain, where dopamine systems are involved in shifting the representation of drug-taking in the striatum region of the brain from the lower (ventral) part of the striatum, implicated in reward, to the higher (dorsolateral) striatum, implicated in habits.

Researchers now have identified the stages of this process that are sensitive to blockade of dopamine receptors, potential therapeutic targets, and the important role that impulsivity plays in this process. They report their results in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.

They administered a dopamine receptor-blocking drug, α-flupenthixol, directly into the dorsolateral striatum of rats at different phases of addiction. They found that the rats transitioned from insensitivity to sensitivity to the drug's inhibitory effects on cocaine-seeking, but that this transition was also influenced by the inherent impulsivity of the rats.

Early in the addiction process, all rodents were insensitive to the drug's effects, but it did suppress drug-seeking in animals with long-standing cocaine self-administration.

They also found that highly impulsive animals made the transition from drug insensitivity to sensitivity more slowly than animals with low levels of impulsivity.

"The results of this study are important because they show that although both impulsive and non-impulsive rats developed cocaine-seeking habits, this was delayed in high impulsive rats," said first author Dr. Jennifer Murray, from University of Cambridge.

These data suggest that impulsivity does not simply promote compulsivity through the facilitation of habits, but rather that these are interacting independent processes. Murray added, "It is suggested that vulnerability to addiction conferred by impulsivity is less influenced by the propensity to develop drug-seeking habits and more by the inability of an individual to regain control over these habits that are rigidly and maladaptively established in the brain."

"The notion that particular brain mechanisms are engaged only at particular phases of the addiction process strikes me as an important insight that has yet to be harnessed in developing new medications for addiction treatment," said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "This study highlights that dopamine receptor blockers might play a role, but only at particular phases of the addiction process."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer E. Murray, Ruth Dilleen, Yann Pelloux, Daina Economidou, Jeffrey W. Dalley, David Belin, Barry J. Everitt. Increased Impulsivity Retards the Transition to Dorsolateral Striatal Dopamine Control of Cocaine Seeking. Biological Psychiatry, 2014; 76 (1): 15 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.09.011

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology, treatment?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630103146.htm>.
Elsevier. (2014, June 30). Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology, treatment?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630103146.htm
Elsevier. "Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology, treatment?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630103146.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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