Navigation Links
'Erasing' drug-associated memories may stop drug addiction relapses

'Erasing' drug-associated memories may prevent recovering drug abusers from relapsing, researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered.

The team, led by Professor Barry Everitt, was able to reduce drug-seeking behaviours in rats by blocking a brain chemical receptor important to learning and memory during the recall of drug-associated memories. Their research, which was funded by the Medical Research Council, was reported in the 13 August issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The Cambridge scientists found that by disrupting or erasing memories associated with drug use during recall, they could prevent the memories from triggering relapses and drug taking.

Memories exist in different states depending on whether they are being recalled or not. When memories are recalled, they become 'unstable' or malleable and can be altered or erased during the process called reconsolidation. Because relapse by drug abusers is often prompted when they recall drug-associated memories, the scientists found that by blocking these memories they could prevent relapse.

In order to undertake the experiments, the researchers trained rats to associate the switching on of a light with cocaine. The researchers then exposed the rats to the light, thereby 'reactivating' the memory, without the cocaine. In an effort to receive more cocaine, the rats would perform tasks that the scientists had created which would turn on the light.

When the animals were given a chemical that interfered with the action of the NMDA-type glutamate receptor (which plays an important role in memory) prior to the 'reactivation' session, the rats showed reduced cocaine-seeking behaviours. A single treatment reduced or even stopped drug-seeking behaviours for up to four weeks.

In contrast, blocking the receptors after or without the reactivation session had no effect on subsequent drug-seeking behaviours, indicating that drug-associated memories can be disrupted during but not after reconsolidation of memories.

Professor Barry Everitt said, "The results suggest that efforts should be made to develop drugs that could be given in a controlled clinical or treatment environment in which addicts would have their most potent drug memories reactivated. Such treatments would be expected to diminish the effects of those memories in the future and help individuals resist relapse and maintain their abstinence."

Dr Amy Milton, a co-author, said, "This is a new approach to the treatment of drug addiction that has great potential. Additionally, this might also be used to treat other neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by maladaptive memories, including post-traumatic stress and phobic anxiety disorders."


Contact: Genevieve Maul
University of Cambridge

Related biology news :

1. Scientists find elephant memories may hold key to survival
2. CSHL scientists identify a mechanism that helps fruit flies lock-in memories
3. Genetic tags reveal secrets of memories staying power in mice
4. Tracking feline memories on the move
5. Memory molecule stores memories in neocortex
6. Corals addiction to junk food
7. Hungry mothers risk addiction in their adult children
8. Cognitive, genetic clues identified in imaging study of alcohol addiction
9. Can plant-based ethanol save us from our fossil fuel addiction?
10. New genetic research into nicotine addiction shows promise for personalized treatment
11. Nicotinic receptors may be important targets for treatment of multiple addictions
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 Perimeter ... Platforms, Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the global ... market will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... DVTEL Inc, a leader in software and hardware technologies ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... 2016   EyeLock LLC , a market leader ... of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... development of embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s ... and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the ... DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver a ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India , ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... provider, today announced a global partnership that will ... way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... is a key innovation area for financial services, but it ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016  Liquid Biotech USA ... a Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of ... from cancer patients.  The funding will be used ... with clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a ... be employed to support the design of a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the z-dimension of 8.5 ... end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. Z-dimension or ... the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow cell product lines ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , ... compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced ... granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food ... gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin ... to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm ... Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is ... last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: