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Study pinpoints, prevents stress-induced drug relapse in rats
Date:3/6/2013

d: Could this knowledge be used to prevent relapse?

To answer that, Penn co-authors Lisa Briand and Christopher Pierce performed the experiment demonstrating that nor-BNI delivered directly to the VTA prevented stressed rats from relapsing to cocaine seeking, while untreated rats subjected to the same stress did relapse.

"Our results indicate that the kappa receptors within the VTA critically control stress-induced drug seeking in animals," the authors wrote in Neuron.

Along the way, the team also discovered evidence that another stress-affected synapse in the VTA one that excites dopamine release rather than inhibits it does not play a role in the stress-related relapse as many researchers have thought. The nor-BNI treatment that prevented stress-related relapse, for example, did not affect those synapses.

Kauer emphasized that her lab's findings of therapeutic potential are the product of more than a decade of essential basic research on the importance of how changes in synapses relate to behaviors including addiction.

"If we can figure out how not only stress, but the whole system works, then we'll potentially have a way to tune it down in a person who needs that," she said.


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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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