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Grabbing addiction by the tail

d an intravenous injection of the artificial peptide displayed no sensitized behavior. "The effect was immediate and very noticeable," said Wang.

There are several types of glutamate receptors involved in memory and learning, but because the artificial peptide specifically targets only the deleterious internalization process of addiction-affected neurons, and not normal receptor function, the animals who received it behaved normally and were able to learn as usual. "So far, we have not seen any obvious side effects at all," said Wang.

By inserting a tiny tube into the rats' brains, the researchers delivered the peptide directly to the nucleus accumbens and to another area of the brain involved in reward and motivation, the ventral tegmental area. The peptide reduced the rats' drug-seeking behavior only when injected into the nucleus accumbens, evidence that the structure is critical for the expression of some of the devastating behaviors of addiction.
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Source:Howard Hughes Medical Institute


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