Special Issue "Addiction and Neuroadaptation"

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A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Marcelo Febo

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Program Director of Translational Research Imaging, University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute, 1149 S. Newell Dr., Suite L4-100F, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 352 294 4911
Interests: functional magnetic resonance imaging of awake animals; neuropeoptide modulation of maternal care in rats

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the defining features of drug addiction is the high rate of relapse to drug seeking and taking even after prolonged abstinence periods. Regressing towards drug intake in spite of the negative consequences, and the inability to control intake, strongly suggests that the brain undergoes enduring and perhaps permanent neurobiological changes that need to be fully understood before effective treatments are established. Advancements in our knowledge of the biological underpinnings of addictive disorders have greatly increased over the past decade. Animal studies modeling distinct phases such as sustained drug intake, withdrawal, extinction and relapse are instrumental to gaining insight on neurobiological mechanisms. This has been accompanied by conceptual shifts in our understanding of the control of gene expression, discoveries of the synaptic and molecular events involved in long-term plasticity and memory, and developments of translational neuroimaging tools that provide a global view of brain activity and brain structural changes. This special issue will bring together original research and review articles on the neural correlates of addiction, primarily focused on ‘neuroadaptive mechanisms’ and how these brain changes may impact behavior even after protracted abstinence. More studies using specialized techniques to probe in vivo brain activity, unique animal models to correlate neural substrates and behavior, and articles introducing novel concepts and discoveries are needed to further expand the breadth of our current knowledge of this disease impacting society on a global scale.

Dr. Marcelo Febo
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • addiction
  • drug
  • reward
  • drug abuse
  • animal models
  • neuroimaging
  • reinforcer
  • conditioning
  • memory
  • plasticity
  • gene expression
  • molecular
  • neuroadaptations

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Sex-Specific Brain Deficits in Auditory Processing in an Animal Model of Cocaine-Related Schizophrenic Disorders
Brain Sci. 2013, 3(2), 504-520; doi:10.3390/brainsci3020504
Received: 23 January 2013 / Revised: 4 March 2013 / Accepted: 20 March 2013 / Published: 10 April 2013
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Abstract
Cocaine is a psychostimulant in the pharmacological class of drugs called Local Anesthetics. Interestingly, cocaine is the only drug in this class that has a chemical formula comprised of a tropane ring and is, moreover, addictive. The correlation between tropane and addiction is
[...] Read more.
Cocaine is a psychostimulant in the pharmacological class of drugs called Local Anesthetics. Interestingly, cocaine is the only drug in this class that has a chemical formula comprised of a tropane ring and is, moreover, addictive. The correlation between tropane and addiction is well-studied. Another well-studied correlation is that between psychosis induced by cocaine and that psychosis endogenously present in the schizophrenic patient. Indeed, both of these psychoses exhibit much the same behavioral as well as neurochemical properties across species. Therefore, in order to study the link between schizophrenia and cocaine addiction, we used a behavioral paradigm called Acoustic Startle. We used this acoustic startle paradigm in female versus male Sprague-Dawley animals to discriminate possible sex differences in responses to startle. The startle method operates through auditory pathways in brain via a network of sensorimotor gating processes within auditory cortex, cochlear nuclei, inferior and superior colliculi, pontine reticular nuclei, in addition to mesocorticolimbic brain reward and nigrostriatal motor circuitries. This paper is the first to report sex differences to acoustic stimuli in Sprague-Dawley animals (Rattus norvegicus) although such gender responses to acoustic startle have been reported in humans (Swerdlow et al. 1997 [1]). The startle method monitors pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) as a measure of the loss of sensorimotor gating in the brain's neuronal auditory network; auditory deficiencies can lead to sensory overload and subsequently cognitive dysfunction. Cocaine addicts and schizophrenic patients as well as cocaine treated animals are reported to exhibit symptoms of defective PPI (Geyer et al., 2001 [2]). Key findings are: (a) Cocaine significantly reduced PPI in both sexes. (b) Females were significantly more sensitive than males; reduced PPI was greater in females than in males. (c) Physiological saline had no effect on startle in either sex. Thus, the data elucidate gender-specificity to the startle response in animals. Finally, preliminary studies show the effect of cocaine on acoustic startle in tandem with effects on estrous cycle. The data further suggest that hormones may play a role in these sex differences to acoustic startle reported herein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Early Life Adversity Alters the Developmental Profiles of Addiction-Related Prefrontal Cortex Circuitry
Brain Sci. 2013, 3(1), 143-158; doi:10.3390/brainsci3010143
Received: 25 October 2012 / Revised: 11 December 2012 / Accepted: 24 January 2013 / Published: 4 February 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1407 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Early adverse experience is a well-known risk factor for addictive behaviors later in life. Drug addiction typically manifests during adolescence in parallel with the later-developing prefrontal cortex (PFC). While it has been shown that dopaminergic modulation within the PFC is involved in addiction-like
[...] Read more.
Early adverse experience is a well-known risk factor for addictive behaviors later in life. Drug addiction typically manifests during adolescence in parallel with the later-developing prefrontal cortex (PFC). While it has been shown that dopaminergic modulation within the PFC is involved in addiction-like behaviors, little is known about how early adversity modulates its development. Here, we report that maternal separation stress (4 h per day between postnatal days 2–20) alters the development of the prelimbic PFC. Immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy revealed differences between maternally-separated and control rats in dopamine D1 and D2 receptor expression during adolescence, and specifically the expression of these receptors on projection neurons. In control animals, D1 and D2 receptors were transiently increased on all glutamatergic projection neurons, as well as specifically on PFC→nucleus accumbens projection neurons (identified with retrograde tracer). Maternal separation exacerbated the adolescent peak in D1 expression and blunted the adolescent peak in D2 expression on projection neurons overall. However, neurons retrogradely traced from the accumbens expressed lower levels of D1 during adolescence after maternal separation, compared to controls. Our findings reveal microcircuitry-specific changes caused by early life adversity that could help explain heightened vulnerability to drug addiction during adolescence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessArticle Cocaine Sensitization Increases Kyphosis and Modulates Neural Activity in Adult Nulliparous Rats
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 667-683; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040667
Received: 20 September 2012 / Revised: 13 November 2012 / Accepted: 23 November 2012 / Published: 27 November 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1347 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although data from both animals and humans suggests that adult cocaine use can have long term effects on behavior, it is unknown if prior cocaine use affects future maternal behavior in nulliparous females. In the current study, cocaine or saline was administered to
[...] Read more.
Although data from both animals and humans suggests that adult cocaine use can have long term effects on behavior, it is unknown if prior cocaine use affects future maternal behavior in nulliparous females. In the current study, cocaine or saline was administered to adult female rats for 10 days, the animals were withdrawn from cocaine for 7 days, and the females were then exposed to donor pups to induce the expression of maternal behavior. Nulliparous females sensitized to cocaine were more likely to retrieve pups, spent more time caring for the pups, and were more likely to express full maternal behavior on day 8 of pup exposure. The fMRI data revealed significant effects of pup exposure in the hippocampal CA1 region, and effects of cocaine in the anterior thalamus and periaqueductal gray. Prior adult cocaine use may have lasting effects on offspring care, and this effect is not dependent on pup mediated effects or the endocrine changes of gestation and lactation. The present findings provide support for the hypothesis that maternal motivation to exhibit maternal behavior is enhanced by prior cocaine sensitization, possibly due to cross sensitization between cocaine and the natural reward of maternal behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
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Open AccessArticle The α1 Antagonist Doxazosin Alters the Behavioral Effects of Cocaine in Rats
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 619-633; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040619
Received: 20 September 2012 / Revised: 26 October 2012 / Accepted: 8 November 2012 / Published: 13 November 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Medications that target norepinephrine (NE) neurotransmission alter the behavioral effects of cocaine and may be beneficial for stimulant-use disorders. We showed previously that the short-acting, α1-adrenergic antagonist, prazosin, blocked drug-induced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking in rats and doxazosin (DOX), a longer-acting α1 antagonist blocked
[...] Read more.
Medications that target norepinephrine (NE) neurotransmission alter the behavioral effects of cocaine and may be beneficial for stimulant-use disorders. We showed previously that the short-acting, α1-adrenergic antagonist, prazosin, blocked drug-induced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking in rats and doxazosin (DOX), a longer-acting α1 antagonist blocked cocaine’s subjective effects in cocaine-dependent volunteers. To further characterize DOX as a possible pharmacotherapy for cocaine dependence, we assessed its impact on the development and expression of cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization in rats. Rats (n = 6–8) were administered saline, cocaine (COC, 10 mg/kg) or DOX (0.3 or 1.0 mg/kg) alone or in combination for 5 consecutive days (development). Following 10-days of drug withdrawal, all rats were administered COC and locomotor activity was again assessed (expression). COC increased locomotor activity across days indicative of sensitization. The high dose (1.0 mg/kg), but not the low dose (0.3 mg/kg) of DOX significantly decreased the development and expression of COC sensitization. DOX alone did not differ from saline. These results are consistent with studies showing that α1 receptors are essential for the development and expression of cocaine’s behavioral effects. Results also suggest that blockade of both the development and expression of locomotor sensitization may be important characteristics of possible pharmacotherapies for cocaine dependence in humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessArticle Nucleus Accumbens Volume Is Associated with Frequency of Alcohol Use among Juvenile Justice-Involved Adolescents
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 605-618; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040605
Received: 1 August 2012 / Revised: 26 September 2012 / Accepted: 8 November 2012 / Published: 12 November 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (214 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Differential neural development of structures associated with reward and control systems may underlie risky behavior in adolescence. The nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) have been implicated in substance use behavior, although structural studies have yet to explore specific relationships between nucleus accumbens
[...] Read more.
Differential neural development of structures associated with reward and control systems may underlie risky behavior in adolescence. The nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) have been implicated in substance use behavior, although structural studies have yet to explore specific relationships between nucleus accumbens and OFC volumes and alcohol use in adolescence. High resolution structural MRI scans and assessments of recent alcohol use and lifetime substance use were collected in a sample of 168 juvenile justice-involved adolescents to explore whether gray matter volumes were associated with past 3-month quantity and frequency of alcohol use. Gray matter volumes were not associated with average quantity of alcohol use. Accumbens volume was positively associated with past 3-month frequency of drinking, and OFC volume was negatively associated with drinking frequency. Results may suggest that structural differences in regions related to reward and control processing may contribute to risk behavior in adolescence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessArticle Cocaine-Induced Reinstatement of a Conditioned Place Preference in Developing Rats: Involvement of the D2 Receptor
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 573-588; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040573
Received: 4 October 2012 / Revised: 19 October 2012 / Accepted: 24 October 2012 / Published: 31 October 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reinstatement of conditioned place preferences have been used to investigate physiological mechanisms mediating drug-seeking behavior in adolescent and adult rodents; however, it is still unclear how psychostimulant exposure during adolescence affects neuron communication and whether these changes would elicit enhanced drug-seeking behavior later
[...] Read more.
Reinstatement of conditioned place preferences have been used to investigate physiological mechanisms mediating drug-seeking behavior in adolescent and adult rodents; however, it is still unclear how psychostimulant exposure during adolescence affects neuron communication and whether these changes would elicit enhanced drug-seeking behavior later in adulthood. The present study determined whether the effects of intra-ventral tegmental area (VTA) or intra-nucleus accumbens septi (NAcc) dopamine (DA) D2 receptor antagonist infusions would block (or potentiate) cocaine-induced reinstatement of conditioned place preferences. Adolescent rats (postnatal day (PND 28–39)) were trained to express a cocaine place preference. The involvement of D2 receptors on cocaine-induced reinstatement was determined by intra-VTA or intra-NAcc infusion of the DA D2 receptor antagonist sulpiride (100 μM) during a cocaine-primed reinstatement test (10 mg/kg cocaine, i.p.). Infusion of sulpiride into the VTA but not the NAcc blocked reinstatement of conditioned place preference. These data suggest intrinsic compensatory mechanisms in the mesolimbic DA pathway mediate responsivity to cocaine-induced reinstatement of a conditioned place preference during development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessArticle Striatal Volume Increases in Active Methamphetamine-Dependent Individuals and Correlation with Cognitive Performance
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 553-572; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040553
Received: 31 July 2012 / Revised: 10 September 2012 / Accepted: 24 October 2012 / Published: 30 October 2012
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (442 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of methamphetamine (MA) dependence on the structure of the human brain has not been extensively studied, especially in active users. Previous studies reported cortical deficits and striatal gains in grey matter (GM) volume of abstinent MA abusers compared with control participants.
[...] Read more.
The effect of methamphetamine (MA) dependence on the structure of the human brain has not been extensively studied, especially in active users. Previous studies reported cortical deficits and striatal gains in grey matter (GM) volume of abstinent MA abusers compared with control participants. This study aimed to investigate structural GM changes in the brains of 17 active MA-dependent participants compared with 20 control participants aged 18–46 years using voxel-based morphometry and region of interest volumetric analysis of structural magnetic resonance imaging data, and whether these changes might be associated with cognitive performance. Significant volume increases were observed in the right and left putamen and left nucleus accumbens of MA-dependent compared to control participants. The volumetric gain in the right putamen remained significant after Bonferroni correction, and was inversely correlated with the number of errors (standardised z-scores) on the Go/No-go task. MA-dependent participants exhibited cortical GM deficits in the left superior frontal and precentral gyri in comparison to control participants, although these findings did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. In conclusion, consistent with findings from previous studies of abstinent users, active chronic MA-dependent participants showed significant striatal enlargement which was associated with improved performance on the Go/No-go, a cognitive task of response inhibition and impulsivity. Striatal enlargement may reflect the involvement of neurotrophic effects, inflammation or microgliosis. However, since it was associated with improved cognitive function, it is likely to reflect a compensatory response to MA-induced neurotoxicity in the striatum, in order to maintain cognitive function. Follow-up studies are recommended to ascertain whether this effect continues to be present following abstinence. Several factors may have contributed to the lack of more substantial cortical and subcortical GM changes amongst MA-dependent participants, including variability in MA exposure variables and difference in abstinence status from previous studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessArticle Repeated Episodes of Heroin Cause Enduring Alterations of Circadian Activity in Protracted Abstinence
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(3), 421-433; doi:10.3390/brainsci2030421
Received: 31 July 2012 / Revised: 4 September 2012 / Accepted: 11 September 2012 / Published: 20 September 2012
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Abstract
Opiate withdrawal is followed by a protracted abstinence syndrome consisting of craving and physiological changes. However, few studies have been dedicated to both the characterization and understanding of these long-term alterations in post-dependent subjects. The aim of the present study was to develop
[...] Read more.
Opiate withdrawal is followed by a protracted abstinence syndrome consisting of craving and physiological changes. However, few studies have been dedicated to both the characterization and understanding of these long-term alterations in post-dependent subjects. The aim of the present study was to develop an opiate dependence model, which induces long-lasting behavioral changes in abstinent rats. Here, we first compared the effects of several protocols for the induction of opiate dependence (morphine pellets, repeated morphine or heroin injections) on the subsequent response to heroin challenges (0.25 mg/kg) at different time points during abstinence (3, 6, 9 and 18 weeks). In a second set of experiments, rats were exposed to increasing doses of heroin and subsequently monitored for general circadian activity up to 20 weeks of abstinence. Results show that heroin injections rather than the other methods of opiate administration have long-term consequences on rats’ sensitivity to heroin with its psychostimulant effects persisting up to 18 weeks of abstinence. Moreover, intermittent episodes of heroin dependence rather than a single exposure produce enduring alteration of the basal circadian activity both upon heroin cessation and protracted abstinence. Altogether, these findings suggest that the induction of heroin dependence through intermittent increasing heroin injections is the optimal method to model long-term behavioral alterations during protracted abstinence in rats. This animal model would be useful in further characterizing long-lasting changes in post-dependent subjects to help understand the prolonged vulnerability to relapse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessArticle Long-Term Effects of Chronic Oral Ritalin Administration on Cognitive and Neural Development in Adolescent Wistar Kyoto Rats
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(3), 375-404; doi:10.3390/brainsci2030375
Received: 3 July 2012 / Revised: 24 August 2012 / Accepted: 28 August 2012 / Published: 12 September 2012
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Abstract
The diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often results in chronic treatment with psychostimulants such as methylphenidate (MPH, Ritalin®). With increases in misdiagnosis of ADHD, children may be inappropriately exposed to chronic psychostimulant treatment during development. The aim of this
[...] Read more.
The diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often results in chronic treatment with psychostimulants such as methylphenidate (MPH, Ritalin®). With increases in misdiagnosis of ADHD, children may be inappropriately exposed to chronic psychostimulant treatment during development. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of chronic Ritalin treatment on cognitive and neural development in misdiagnosed “normal” (Wistar Kyoto, WKY) rats and in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats (SHR), a model of ADHD. Adolescent male animals were treated for four weeks with oral Ritalin® (2 × 2 mg/kg/day) or distilled water (dH2O). The effect of chronic treatment on delayed reinforcement tasks (DRT) and tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity (TH-ir) in the prefrontal cortex was assessed. Two weeks following chronic treatment, WKY rats previously exposed to MPH chose the delayed reinforcer significantly less than the dH2O treated controls in both the DRT and extinction task. MPH treatment did not significantly alter cognitive performance in the SHR. TH-ir in the infralimbic cortex was significantly altered by age and behavioural experience in WKY and SHR, however this effect was not evident in WKY rats treated with MPH. These results suggest that chronic treatment with MPH throughout adolescence in “normal” WKY rats increased impulsive choice and altered catecholamine development when compared to vehicle controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessArticle The Hepatocyte Growth Factor/c-Met Antagonist, Divalinal-Angiotensin IV, Blocks the Acquisition of Methamphetamine Dependent Conditioned Place Preference in Rats
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(3), 298-318; doi:10.3390/brainsci2030298
Received: 9 May 2012 / Revised: 6 July 2012 / Accepted: 10 August 2012 / Published: 20 August 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (989 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of methamphetamine (MA) is increasing in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. MA’s capacity to cause addiction significantly exceeds other psychostimulant drugs, and its use negatively impacts learning and memory. Recently, attempts have been made to interfere with the presumed
[...] Read more.
The use of methamphetamine (MA) is increasing in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. MA’s capacity to cause addiction significantly exceeds other psychostimulant drugs, and its use negatively impacts learning and memory. Recently, attempts have been made to interfere with the presumed mechanism(s) underlying the establishment of drug-induced memory consolidation. The majority of these studies have employed matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors to disrupt MMP-induced extracellular matrix molecule dependent synaptic reconfiguration, or GABA receptor agonists. The present investigation utilized an angiotensin IV (AngIV) analogue, Divalinal-AngIV (divalinal), to disrupt acquisition of MA-induced dependence in rats as measured using the conditioned place preference paradigm. Results indicate that both acute and chronic intracerebroventricular infusion of divalinal prior to each daily subcutaneous injection of MA prevented acquisition. However, divalinal was unable to prevent MA-induced reinstatement after prior acquisition followed by extinction trials. These results indicate that prevention of MA dependence can be accomplished by blockade of the brain AT4 receptor subtype. On the other hand, once MA-induced memory consolidation is in place divalinal appears to be ineffective. Mechanistic studies indicated that divalinal is a potent inhibitor of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-Met receptor system, and thus it appears that a functional HGF/c-Met system is required for the acquisition of MA-mediated conditioned place preference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessArticle A High-Fat Meal, or Intraperitoneal Administration of a Fat Emulsion, Increases Extracellular Dopamine in the Nucleus Accumbens
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(2), 242-253; doi:10.3390/brainsci2020242
Received: 10 April 2012 / Revised: 4 May 2012 / Accepted: 1 June 2012 / Published: 11 June 2012
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (389 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Evidence links dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell to the ingestion of palatable diets. Less is known, however, about the specific relation of DA to dietary fat and circulating triglycerides (TG), which are stimulated by fat intake and promote overeating. The
[...] Read more.
Evidence links dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell to the ingestion of palatable diets. Less is known, however, about the specific relation of DA to dietary fat and circulating triglycerides (TG), which are stimulated by fat intake and promote overeating. The present experiments tested in Sprague-Dawley rats whether extracellular levels of NAc DA increase in response to acute access to fat-rich food or peripheral injection of a fat emulsion and, if so, whether this is related to caloric intake or elevated circulating lipids. When rats consumed more calories of a high-fat meal compared with a low-fat meal, there was a significant increase in extracellular accumbens DA (155% vs. 119%). Systemic injection of a fat emulsion, which like a high-fat diet raises circulating TG but eliminates the factor of taste and allows for the control of caloric intake, also significantly increased extracellular levels of DA (127%) compared to an equicaloric glucose solution (70%) and saline (85%). Together, this suggests that a rise in circulating TG may contribute to the stimulatory effect of a high-fat diet on NAc DA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Early Life Stress, Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors and Alcohol Use Disorders
Brain Sci. 2015, 5(3), 258-274; doi:10.3390/brainsci5030258
Received: 15 April 2015 / Revised: 11 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (356 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Stress is a major driving force in alcohol use disorders (AUDs). It influences how much one consumes, craving intensity and whether an abstinent individual will return to harmful alcohol consumption. We are most vulnerable to the effects of stress during early development, and
[...] Read more.
Stress is a major driving force in alcohol use disorders (AUDs). It influences how much one consumes, craving intensity and whether an abstinent individual will return to harmful alcohol consumption. We are most vulnerable to the effects of stress during early development, and exposure to multiple traumatic early life events dramatically increases the risk for AUDs. However, not everyone exposed to early life stress will develop an AUD. The mechanisms determining whether an individual’s brain adapts and becomes resilient to the effects of stress or succumbs and is unable to cope with stress remain elusive. Emerging evidence suggests that neuroplastic changes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) following early life stress underlie the development of AUDs. This review discusses the impact of early life stress on NAc structure and function, how these changes affect cholinergic signaling within the mesolimbic reward pathway and the role nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play in this process. Understanding the neural pathways and mechanism determining stress resilience or susceptibility will improve our ability to identify individuals susceptible to developing AUDs, formulate cognitive interventions to prevent AUDs in susceptible individuals and to elucidate and enhance potential therapeutic targets, such as the nAChRs, for those struggling to overcome an AUD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessReview Neuroadaptive Changes Associated with Smoking: Structural and Functional Neural Changes in Nicotine Dependence
Brain Sci. 2013, 3(1), 159-176; doi:10.3390/brainsci3010159
Received: 22 December 2012 / Revised: 9 January 2013 / Accepted: 25 January 2013 / Published: 15 February 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (406 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tobacco smoking is the most frequent form of substance abuse. We provide a review of the neuroadaptive changes evidenced in human smokers with regard to the current neurobiological models of addiction. Addiction is thought to result from an interplay between positive and negative
[...] Read more.
Tobacco smoking is the most frequent form of substance abuse. We provide a review of the neuroadaptive changes evidenced in human smokers with regard to the current neurobiological models of addiction. Addiction is thought to result from an interplay between positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcing effects of the drugs are mediated by striatal dopamine release, while negative reinforcement involves the relief of withdrawal symptoms and neurobiological stress systems. In addition, drug-related stimuli are attributed with excessive motivational value and are thought to exert a control on the behavior. This mechanism plays a central role in drug maintenance and relapse. Further neuroadaptive changes associated with chronic use of the drug consist of reduced responses to natural rewards and in the activation of an antireward system, related to neurobiological stress systems. Reduced inhibitory cognitive control is believed to support the development and the maintenance of addiction. The findings observed in human nicotine dependence are generally in line with these models. The current state of the research indicates specific neuroadaptive changes associated with nicotine addiction that need to be further elucidated with regard to their role in the treatment of nicotine dependence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessReview Neuroadaptation in Nicotine Addiction: Update on the Sensitization-Homeostasis Model
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 523-552; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040523
Received: 12 July 2012 / Revised: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 25 September 2012 / Published: 17 October 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (383 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The role of neuronal plasticity in supporting the addictive state has generated much research and some conceptual theories. One such theory, the sensitization-homeostasis (SH) model, postulates that nicotine suppresses craving circuits, and this triggers the development of homeostatic adaptations that autonomously support craving.
[...] Read more.
The role of neuronal plasticity in supporting the addictive state has generated much research and some conceptual theories. One such theory, the sensitization-homeostasis (SH) model, postulates that nicotine suppresses craving circuits, and this triggers the development of homeostatic adaptations that autonomously support craving. Based on clinical studies, the SH model predicts the existence of three distinct forms of neuroplasticity that are responsible for withdrawal, tolerance and the resolution of withdrawal. Over the past decade, many controversial aspects of the SH model have become well established by the literature, while some details have been disproven. Here we update the model based on new studies showing that nicotine dependence develops through a set sequence of symptoms in all smokers, and that the latency to withdrawal, the time it takes for withdrawal symptoms to appear during abstinence, is initially very long but shortens by several orders of magnitude over time. We conclude by outlining directions for future research based on the updated model, and commenting on how new experimental studies can gain from the framework put forth in the SH model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessReview Functional and Structural Brain Changes Associated with Methamphetamine Abuse
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 434-482; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040434
Received: 31 July 2012 / Revised: 11 September 2012 / Accepted: 11 September 2012 / Published: 1 October 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (320 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Methamphetamine (MA) is a potent psychostimulant drug whose abuse has become a global epidemic in recent years. Firstly, this review article briefly discusses the epidemiology and clinical pharmacology of methamphetamine dependence. Secondly, the article reviews relevant animal literature modeling methamphetamine dependence and discusses
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Methamphetamine (MA) is a potent psychostimulant drug whose abuse has become a global epidemic in recent years. Firstly, this review article briefly discusses the epidemiology and clinical pharmacology of methamphetamine dependence. Secondly, the article reviews relevant animal literature modeling methamphetamine dependence and discusses possible mechanisms of methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity. Thirdly, it provides a critical review of functional and structural neuroimaging studies in human MA abusers; including positron emission tomography (PET) and functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The effect of abstinence from methamphetamine, both short- and long-term within the context of these studies is also reviewed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
Open AccessReview Internet and Gaming Addiction: A Systematic Literature Review of Neuroimaging Studies
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(3), 347-374; doi:10.3390/brainsci2030347
Received: 28 June 2012 / Revised: 24 August 2012 / Accepted: 28 August 2012 / Published: 5 September 2012
Cited by 58 | PDF Full-text (242 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the past decade, research has accumulated suggesting that excessive Internet use can lead to the development of a behavioral addiction. Internet addiction has been considered as a serious threat to mental health and the excessive use of the Internet has been linked
[...] Read more.
In the past decade, research has accumulated suggesting that excessive Internet use can lead to the development of a behavioral addiction. Internet addiction has been considered as a serious threat to mental health and the excessive use of the Internet has been linked to a variety of negative psychosocial consequences. The aim of this review is to identify all empirical studies to date that used neuroimaging techniques to shed light upon the emerging mental health problem of Internet and gaming addiction from a neuroscientific perspective. Neuroimaging studies offer an advantage over traditional survey and behavioral research because with this method, it is possible to distinguish particular brain areas that are involved in the development and maintenance of addiction. A systematic literature search was conducted, identifying 18 studies. These studies provide compelling evidence for the similarities between different types of addictions, notably substance-related addictions and Internet and gaming addiction, on a variety of levels. On the molecular level, Internet addiction is characterized by an overall reward deficiency that entails decreased dopaminergic activity. On the level of neural circuitry, Internet and gaming addiction led to neuroadaptation and structural changes that occur as a consequence of prolonged increased activity in brain areas associated with addiction. On a behavioral level, Internet and gaming addicts appear to be constricted with regards to their cognitive functioning in various domains. The paper shows that understanding the neuronal correlates associated with the development of Internet and gaming addiction will promote future research and will pave the way for the development of addiction treatment approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)

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