Tampering with a receptor protein in the brain may be a way to treat cocaine addiction in the future, according to results from a recent study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania.
Changing the receptor protein influenced whether or not cocaine-addicted animals would continue to seek out the drug, the study found.
“The critical role of the AMPA receptor in cocaine addiction is clear,” said Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, senior author of the report. “We have known that activation of the AMPA receptor in the nucleus accumbens– an area of the brain important for drug addiction– promotes the resumption of cocaine seeking in animal models, and this study identifies an increased contribution of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors to this process.”
Tampering with those receptors could be a treatment option in the future, another author hypothesized.
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