Discovery of new neural pathway may lead to preventing relapses in addicts
(June 18, 2015) Researchers at the University at Buffalo have discovered a previously unknown neural pathway that can regulate changes made in the brain due to cocaine use, providing new insight into the molecular basis of cocaine addiction.
“Addiction is a life-long affliction manifested by episodes of relapse, despite prolonged abstinence,” says Amy Gancarz, PhD, lead author of the study, which was published on June 1 in an Advance Online Publication in Nature Neuroscience. “There is a need to more fully understand the long-term molecular changes in the brain involved in drug craving and relapse.”
Gancarz, a former postdoctoral associate with the UB Research Institute on Addictions (RIA), worked on the study under the direction of senior author David Dietz, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Dietz is also a faculty member in UB’s Neuroscience Program and an affiliated scientist with RIA.