MicroRNAs in Opioid Addiction: Elucidating Evolution.

MicroRNAs in opioid addiction: elucidating evolution.

Filed under: Addiction Rehab

Front Genet. 2012; 3: 241
Wood EJ, Lipovich L

Three reviews in the Frontiers Research Topic “Non-Coding RNA and Addiction” (He and Wang, 2012; Rodriguez, 2012; Zheng et al., 2012), grouped under the chapter “MicroRNAs and Morphine,” focus on the contribution of microRNAs to opioid abuse. Although animal models have been fundamental to our understanding of addiction pathways, the assumption that microRNAs implicated in opioid tolerance – and their binding sites in mRNAs – are conserved in mammalian evolution was not examined by the authors. Inspired by recent reports which highlight a surprising lack of evolutionary conservation in non-coding RNA genes, in this perspective we use public genome, annotation, and transcriptome datasets to verify microRNA host gene, mature microRNA, and microRNA binding site conservation at key loci functional in opioid addiction. We reveal a complex evolutionary landscape in which certain directional regulatory edges of the microRNA-mRNA hub-and-spoke network lack pan-mammalian conservation.
HubMed – addiction


[Social Integration after 4 Years of Heroin-Assisted Treatment.]

Filed under: Addiction Rehab

Rehabilitation (Stuttg). 2012 Dec 11;
Verthein U, Schäfer I, Degkwitz P

Studies from several countries have by now shown the effectiveness of heroin-assisted treatment in comparison to methadone treatment. However, only few long-term results exist, and in particular data with a focus on social integration of the patients are scarce.The study analyzes the course of long-term social integration among the patients of the German diamorphine study.Individual changes in health, drug use and social integration among patients who had participated in a 4-year diamorphine treatment (n=156) were described and statistically tested by means of repeated measures analyses. The criteria used are based on the instruments OTI-HSS and SCL-90-R, on medical findings, urinalyses, and on variables as well as composite scores from the European Addiction Severity Index.In all domains significant improvements were found after long-term treatment. The percentage of patients employed or currently working had increased 3-fold up to 40% after 4 years. Moreover, the living situation and leisure behaviour improved, and criminal activities declined markedly. The main influencing factor for successful social integration after 4 years of treatment is the ability to work.Heroin-assisted treatment is a long-term effective treatment for severely dependent opiate addicts with respect to stabilization of health, reduction of illegal drug use and improvement of social integration. Furthermore, the results show that processes of social (re-)integration of drug users take time.
HubMed – addiction


L-theanine inhibits nicotine-induced dependence via regulation of the nicotine acetylcholine receptor-dopamine reward pathway.

Filed under: Addiction Rehab

Sci China Life Sci. 2012 Dec; 55(12): 1064-74
Di X, Yan J, Zhao Y, Chang Y, Zhao B

In this study, the inhibitory effect of L-theanine, an amino acid derivative of tea, on the rewarding effects of nicotine and its underlying mechanisms of action were studied. We found that L-theanine inhibited the rewarding effects of nicotine in a conditioned place preference (CPP) model of the mouse and reduced the excitatory status induced by nicotine in SH-SY5Y cells to the same extent as the nicotine receptor inhibitor dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DH?E). Further studies using high performance liquid chromatography, western blotting and immunofluorescence staining analyses showed that L-theanine significantly inhibited nicotine-induced tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression and dopamine production in the midbrain of mice. L-theanine treatment also reduced the upregulation of the ?(4), ?(2) and ?(7) nicotine acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunits induced by nicotine in mouse brain regions that related to the dopamine reward pathway, thus decreasing the number of cells that could react to nicotine. In addition, L-theanine treatment inhibited nicotine-induced c-Fos expression in the reward circuit related areas of the mouse brain. Knockdown of c-Fos by siRNA inhibited the excitatory status of cells but not the upregulation of TH induced by nicotine in SH-SY5Y cells. Overall, the present study showed that L-theanine reduced the nicotine-induced reward effects via inhibition of the nAChR-dopamine reward pathway. These results may offer new therapeutic strategies for treatment of tobacco addiction.
HubMed – addiction


[Social cognition in opiate addicts].

Filed under: Addiction Rehab

Rev Neurol. 2012 Dec 16; 55(12): 705-12
Martin-Contero MC, Secades-Villa R, Tirapu-Ustarroz J

INTRODUCTION. Research on the emotional and social disorders associated with drug addiction has been very limited. AIM. To assess different components of social cognition: perception of emotional expressions, emotional-social intelligence, and empathy, in a sample of opiate addicts in a methadone maintenance program (MMP). SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Eighteen opiate addicts MMP and eighteen healthy controls participated. The test of emotional facial expression recognition, the TMMS-24, the EQ-i Bar-On, and Greene moral dilemmas were applied to each subject. RESULTS. The utilitarian response rate in impersonal moral dilemmas was significantly higher in the group of opiate dependents than in the control group. In the general and factorial social-emotional intelligence, opiate dependent group had significantly lower scores than the control group. However, they had worse facial expression recognition, nor worse scores on all three dimensions of emotional intelligence as measured by the TMMS-24. CONCLUSIONS. The opiate addicts not show a generalized deficit of social cognition, however obtain lower emotional-social intelligence quotient, and differ in empathy measured by moral judgments.
HubMed – addiction



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