Rats that were most likely to self-administer addictive drugs in experiments had a particular receptor in the brain, University of Chicago researchers found.
The receptor -- known as the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor -- increases excitability within the brain's reward centers.
In the animals that were more likely to take addictive drugs, the effects of these receptors were much stronger -- leading to more profound excitation of the cells and pathways associated with reward -- reported the study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The findings raise the possibility that nicotinic receptors may be important targets for the treatment of multiple addictions, not just nicotine. However, blocking these receptors may also interfere with healthy behaviors that depend upon the same brain circuitry, said lead researcher Daniel McGehee.
Last Mod: 17 Ağustos 2007, 12:01