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Review

Is It Possible to Shift from Down to Top Rank? A Focus on the Mesolimbic Dopaminergic System and Cocaine Abuse

Division of Psychiatry I, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Medical University Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
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Academic Editors: Estela Castilla Ortega and Antonia Serrano
Biomedicines 2021, 9(8), 877; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9080877
Received: 14 June 2021 / Revised: 20 July 2021 / Accepted: 20 July 2021 / Published: 23 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Aspects of Drug Addiction)
Impaired social behavior is a common feature of many psychiatric disorders, in particular with substance abuse disorders. Switching the preference of the substance-dependent individual toward social interaction activities remains one of the major challenges in drug dependence therapy. However, social interactions yield to the emergence of social ranking. In this review, we provide an overview of the studies that examined how social status can influence the dopaminergic mesolimbic system and how drug-seeking behavior is affected. Generally, social dominance is associated with an increase in dopamine D2/3 receptor binding in the striatum and a reduced behavioral response to drugs of abuse. However, it is not clear whether higher D2 receptor availability is a result of increased D2 receptor density and/or reduced dopamine release in the striatum. Here, we discuss the possibility of a potential shift from down to top rank via manipulation of the mesolimbic system. Identifying the neurobiology underlying a potential rank switch to a resilient phenotype is of particular interest in order to promote a positive coping behavior toward long-term abstinence from drugs of abuse and a protection against relapse to drugs. Such a shift may contribute to a more successful therapeutic approach to cocaine addiction. View Full-Text
Keywords: drugs of abuse; social interaction; social rank; mesolimbic system; dopamine; social reorganization; animal models; resilience; vulnerability; relapse drugs of abuse; social interaction; social rank; mesolimbic system; dopamine; social reorganization; animal models; resilience; vulnerability; relapse
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MDPI and ACS Style

Amaral, I.M.; Hofer, A.; El Rawas, R. Is It Possible to Shift from Down to Top Rank? A Focus on the Mesolimbic Dopaminergic System and Cocaine Abuse. Biomedicines 2021, 9, 877. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9080877

AMA Style

Amaral IM, Hofer A, El Rawas R. Is It Possible to Shift from Down to Top Rank? A Focus on the Mesolimbic Dopaminergic System and Cocaine Abuse. Biomedicines. 2021; 9(8):877. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9080877

Chicago/Turabian Style

Amaral, Inês M., Alex Hofer, and Rana El Rawas. 2021. "Is It Possible to Shift from Down to Top Rank? A Focus on the Mesolimbic Dopaminergic System and Cocaine Abuse" Biomedicines 9, no. 8: 877. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9080877

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