Interacting Drugs of Abuse

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Science  26 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5568, pp. 619
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5568.619b

Behavioral sensitization—the repeated administration of psychostimulants that produces progressively greater behavioral responses—is an important factor involved in the acquisition and maintenance of compulsive drug-seeking behavior. Schoffelmeer et al. found that repeated exposure to nicotine boosted the psychomotor effects of nicotine and amphetamine. Administration of nicotinic receptor antagonists together with amphetamine or cocaine during pretreatment blocked the development of long-term behavioral sensitization. The sensitization induced by nicotine, amphetamine, or cocaine correlated with increased nucleus accumbens dopamine release in vitro, and the long-term sensitization of nucleus accumbens neurons could be averted by nicotinic receptor antagonists. Thus, nicotinic receptor blockade prevents the induction of behavioral sensitization as well as the development of neurochemical sensitization of mesolimbic dopamine neurons, suggesting that the development of behavioral sensitization and addiction involves long-term alterations in neuronal function in the mesocorticolimbic system.—PRS

J. Neurosci.22, 3269 (2002).

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