Brain's 'anti-relapse circuit' helps in fighting cocaine addiction

Published Sep 6, 2014, 7:41 pm IST
Updated Mar 31, 2019, 6:46 am IST
Representational image. (Photo:
 Representational image. (Photo:

Washington: A new research has discovered that human brain is already equipped with an 'anti-relapse' circuit that could help overcoming the cocaine addiction.

Yaoying Ma, research associate of the study that biology, by nature, had a yin and a yang and a push and a pull.

Yan Dong, assistant professor of neuroscience in the University of Pittsburgh's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, said that the pro-relapse response was predominant after cocaine exposure but since the anti-relapse response existed inside the brain, it could possibly be clinically tweaked to achieve therapeutic benefits.

The team had earlier reported in its Nature Neuroscience study that when a rat used cocaine, some immature synapses were generated, which were called "silent synapses' because they were semifunctional and sent few signals under normal physiological conditions.

According to the earlier study, after that rat stopped using cocaine, these "silent synapses" went through a maturation phase and acquire their full function to send signals and once they could send signals, the synapses will send craving signals for cocaine if the rat was exposed to cues previously associated with the drug.

The study is published online in the journal Neuron.





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