Dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area

Drug-induced synaptic plasticity and its role in relapse to drug-seeking behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Relapse is a hallmark of drug addiction and a daunting challenge facing the clinical treatment of the disease. Although the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the rewarding effects of addictive drugs, thought to play a critical role in initiating drug use, have been extensively studied for the past half century, recent research has begun to focus on the neural mechanisms underlying relapse. For the past decade, accumulating evidence indicates that glutamate and dopamine (DA) neurotransmissions in the mesocorticolimbic system are critically involved in this process. This review focuses on the role of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), particularly VTA DA neurons, in relapse, followed by a discussion of synaptic plasticity induced by addictive drugs and the potential role of such plasticity in the risk of relapse. Finally, directions for future research are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-285
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Drug Abuse Reviews
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

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Drug-Seeking Behavior
Ventral Tegmental Area
Neuronal Plasticity
Dopaminergic Neurons
Recurrence
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Synaptic Transmission
Substance-Related Disorders
Glutamic Acid
Dopamine
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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abstract = "Relapse is a hallmark of drug addiction and a daunting challenge facing the clinical treatment of the disease. Although the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the rewarding effects of addictive drugs, thought to play a critical role in initiating drug use, have been extensively studied for the past half century, recent research has begun to focus on the neural mechanisms underlying relapse. For the past decade, accumulating evidence indicates that glutamate and dopamine (DA) neurotransmissions in the mesocorticolimbic system are critically involved in this process. This review focuses on the role of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), particularly VTA DA neurons, in relapse, followed by a discussion of synaptic plasticity induced by addictive drugs and the potential role of such plasticity in the risk of relapse. Finally, directions for future research are presented.",
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