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"Cocaine Use Alters Gene Expression In Brain Reward Circuits"

  • Medical Xpress
  • New York, NY
  • (May 31, 2018)

A study in Biological Psychiatry has identified unique genetic changes in the brain’s reward circuitry that are associated with cocaine use, including first-time use, withdrawal, and re-exposure to the drug after prolonged withdrawal. The findings reveal important information on how cocaine addiction reprograms gene expression and provide insight into the molecular basis of cocaine addiction in unprecedented detail. "This study is the first of its kind to characterize the global transcriptome in brain during the life-cycle of cocaine self-administration," said senior author Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, dean of academic and scientific affairs, director of the Friedman Brain Institute, and professor of neuroscience, pharmacological sciences and psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers examined six regions of the brain’s reward circuitry, providing an enormous resource of information for studying the biological basis of cocaine addiction. The study also identified several molecules responsible for regulating the expression of the genes associated with addiction-like behavior.

- Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, Dean, Academic and Scientific Affairs, Director, Friedman Brain Institute, Professor, Neuroscience, Pharmacological Sciences, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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