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NIDA Notes Articles: Cocaine

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Transcription Factor E2F3a Mediates Cocaine’s Effects on Gene Expression and Addiction-Related Behaviors

February 2019
This study demonstrated that cocaine increases expression of the protein E2F3a in the brain’s reward system. The changes in E2F3a levels in the nucleus accumbens are tied to addiction-related behaviors and to altered gene expression.

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Disruption of Serotonin Contributes to Cocaine’s Effects

February 2019
This research traced the effects of cocaine-induced disruption of serotonin regulation in the ventral pallidum and orbitofrontal cortex. The findings suggest that these effects may contribute to drug-seeking and cocaine-associated cognitive impairments.

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Cocaine-Induced Increase in an Immune Protein Promotes Addiction Behaviors in Mice

October 2018
Cocaine produces a portion of its rewarding effects by increasing levels of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) in the brain’s reward center. Treatments that prevent G-CSF signaling in the nucleus accumbens might reduce motivation to use cocaine.

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How Cocaine Cues Get Planted in the Brain

September 2018
An epigenetic mechanism underlies the powerful cocaine–environment associations that promote relapse.

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EEG Indicates That Cocaine Relapse Vulnerability Peaks 1 to 6 Months Into Abstinence

September 2017
Electroencephalography (EEG) may provide an objective measure of cocaine-addicted participants’ vulnerability to cue-induced relapse. The assessment of cue-induced responsiveness may be useful in the clinical setting for assessing relapse risk and tailoring interventions to maintain abstinence among cocaine-addicted adults. 

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Why Females Are More Sensitive to Cocaine

August 2017
New research demonstrates that the hormone estradiol is responsible for females’ increased sensitivity to stimulant drugs.

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Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction? Part 3

March 2017
In the final installment of this series, Dr. Diana Martinez navigates the process for receiving NIH funding to test the efficacy of using transcranial magnetic stimulation as treatment for cocaine addiction.

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Endocannabinoid Regulates Cocaine Reward

March 2017
Investigators have shown that 2-AG, an endocannabinoid (i.e., a cannabinoid manufactured within the body, as opposed to plant-derived), augments the cocaine-induced dopamine surge in the brain’s reward system. The discovery adds to evidence that inhibiting activity in the endocannabinoid system might reduce cocaine’s rewarding and addictive effects.  

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Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission

March 2017
Drugs can alter the way people think, feel, and behave by disrupting neurotransmission, the process of communication between brain cells. This article discusses the central importance of studying drugs’ effects on neurotransmission and describes some of the most common experimental methods used in this research.  En Español

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Nonmedical Treatment for Cocaine Addiction Shows Promise in Pilot Trial

November 2016
Patients who received transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) were more likely to abstain from cocaine than patients who received medications for symptoms associated with abstinence. Researchers concluded that TMS appears to be safe and its efficacy as a treatment for cocaine addiction deserves to be evaluated in a larger clinical trial.

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