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Diane Publishing Books
Neurobiology of Cocaine Addiction: A Reprint from “Science and Practice Perspectives”
Eric J. Nestler (au)
Cocaine produces its psychoactive & addictive effects primarily by acting on the brain’s limbic system, a set of interconnected regions that regulate pleasure & motivation. An initial, short-term effect -- a buildup of the neurochemical dopamine -- gives rise to euphoria & a desire to take the drug again. Researchers are seeking to understand how cocaine’s many longer term effects produce addiction’s persistent cravings & risk of relapse. This paper focuses on the buildup of the genetic transcription factor DeltaFosB in the limbic system which correlate with addiction-like behaviors in mice & may precipitate very long-lasting changes to nerve cell structure. This is one of the first steps toward an understanding of the transition from cocaine abuse to addiction.
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