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Stress-induced changes in brain circuitry linked to cocaine relapse
Date:10/30/2009

ins, may regulate a serotonin system through projections from the dorsal raphe nucleus of the brain to other parts of the brain, the nucleus accumbens. Theirs is one of the first investigations into sources of the serotonin system projections and how this connection is regulated by stress-evoked mediators. This pathway -- induced by dynophins released during stress -- might re-ignite extinguished drug-seeking behaviors by weakening the serotonin tone of the nucleus accumbens.

These findings, Bruchas said, are only a first, foundational step. Still to be discovered are: What are the activities of the kappa opioid receptor? Is it decreasing serotonin levels? Is it lowering the firing rates of nerve cells?

The researchers expressed hope that future work on how this pathway functions may provide more insight into the brain mechanisms linking stress, depression, and addiction.

When asked if it would be possible to intervene in this pathway, the researchers answered that work is under way by other groups on the kappa opioid receptor system as a possible target for treating depression.


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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@u.washington.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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