Imaging Addiction: D2 Receptors and Dopamine Signaling in the Striatum as Biomarkers for Impulsivity.

Imaging addiction: D2 receptors and dopamine signaling in the striatum as biomarkers for impulsivity.

Neuropharmacology. 2013 Jul 9;
Trifilieff P, Martinez D

Dependence to drugs of abuse is closely associated with impulsivity, or the propensity to choose a lower, but immediate, reward over a delayed, but more valuable outcome. Here, we review clinical and preclinical studies showing that striatal dopamine signaling and D2 receptor levels – which have been shown to be decreased in addiction – directly impact impulsivity, which is itself predictive of drug self-administration. Based on these studies, we propose that the alterations in D2 receptor binding and dopamine release seen in imaging studies of addiction constitute neurobiological markers of impulsivity. Recent studies in animals also show that higher striatal dopamine signaling at the D2 receptor is associated with a greater willingness to expend effort to reach goals, and we propose that this same relationship applies to humans, particularly with respect to recovery from addiction. HubMed – addiction

Rats classified as low or high cocaine locomotor responders: A unique model involving striatal dopamine transporters that predicts cocaine addiction-like behaviors.

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Jul 11;
Yamamoto DJ, Nelson AM, Mandt BH, Larson GA, Rorabaugh JM, Ng CM, Barcomb KM, Richards TL, Allen RM, Zahniser NR

Individual differences are a hallmark of drug addiction. Here, we describe a rat model based on differential initial responsiveness to low dose cocaine. Despite similar brain cocaine levels, individual outbred Sprague-Dawley rats exhibit markedly different magnitudes of acute cocaine-induced locomotor activity and, thereby, can be classified as low or high cocaine responders (LCRs or HCRs). LCRs and HCRs differ in drug-induced, but not novelty-associated, hyperactivity. LCRs have higher basal numbers of striatal dopamine transporters (DATs) than HCRs and exhibit marginal cocaine inhibition of in vivo DAT activity and cocaine-induced increases in extracellular DA. Importantly, lower initial cocaine response predicts greater locomotor sensitization, conditioned place preference and greater motivation to self-administer cocaine following low dose acquisition. Further, outbred Long-Evans rats classified as LCRs, versus HCRs, are more sensitive to cocaine’s discriminative stimulus effects. Overall, results to date with the LCR/HCR model underscore the contribution of striatal DATs to individual differences in initial cocaine responsiveness and the value of assessing the influence of initial drug response on subsequent expression of addiction-like behaviors. HubMed – addiction

Serotonin at the Nexus of Impulsivity and Cue Reactivity in Cocaine Addiction.

Neuropharmacology. 2013 Jul 10;
Cunningham KA, Anastasio NC

Cocaine abuse and addiction remain great challenges on the public health agendas in the U.S. and the world. Increasingly sophisticated perspectives on addiction to cocaine and other drugs of abuse have evolved with concerted research efforts over the last 30 years. Relapse remains a particularly powerful clinical problem as, even upon termination of drug use and initiation of abstinence, the recidivism rates can be very high. The cycling course of cocaine intake, abstinence and relapse is tied to a multitude of behavioral and cognitive processes including impulsivity (a predisposition toward rapid unplanned reactions to stimuli without regard to the negative consequences), and cocaine cue reactivity (responsivity to cocaine-associated stimuli) cited as two key phenotypes that contribute to relapse vulnerability even years into recovery. Preclinical studies suggest that serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) neurotransmission in key neural circuits may contribute to these interlocked phenotypes well as the altered neurobiological states evoked by cocaine that precipitate relapse events. As such, 5-HT is an important target in the quest to to understand the neurobiology of relapse-predictive phenotypes, to successfully treat this complex disorder and improve diagnostic and prognostic capabilities. This review emphasizes the role of 5-HT and its receptor proteins in key addiction phenotypes and the implications of current findings to the future of therapeutics in addiction. HubMed – addiction