This ad will auto close in 10 seconds

Brain`s `dark side` plays key role in cocaine addiction

Last Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 15:22

Washington: New evidence have shown that an emotion-related brain region called the central amygdala-whose activity promotes feelings of malaise and unhappiness-plays a major role in sustaining cocaine addiction.

In experiments with rats, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found signs that cocaine-induced changes in this brain system contribute to anxiety-like behavior and other unpleasant symptoms of drug withdrawal-symptoms that typically drive an addict to keep using.

When the researchers blocked specific brain receptors called kappa opioid receptors in this key anxiety-mediating brain region, the rats` signs of addiction abated.

"These receptors appear to be a good target for therapy," said Marisa Roberto, associate professor in TSRI`s addiction research group, the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders.

In addition to its clinical implications, the finding represents an alternative to the pleasure-seeking, "positive" motivational circuitry that is traditionally emphasized in addiction.

The study appeared in the journal Biological Psychiatry.


First Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 15:22
comments powered by Disqus