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Molecular and Cellular Basis of Addiction

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Science  03 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5335, pp. 58-63
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5335.58

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Drug addiction results from adaptations in specific brain neurons caused by repeated exposure to a drug of abuse. These adaptations combine to produce the complex behaviors that define an addicted state. Progress is being made in identifying such time-dependent, drug-induced adaptations and relating them to specific behavioral features of addiction. Current research needs to understand the types of adaptations that underlie the particularly long-lived aspects of addiction, such as drug craving and relapse, and to identify specific genes that contribute to individual differences in vulnerability to addiction. Understanding the molecular and cellular basis of addictive states will lead to major changes in how addiction is viewed and ultimately treated.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: eric.nestler{at}qm.yale.edu

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