Molecular Switch for Addiction Behaviour

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Cultured neurons from the striatum of mice |  Thomas Lissek / Hilmar Bading
Cultured neurons from the striatum of mice | Thomas Lissek / Hilmar Bading
A molecular switch influences addiction behaviour and determines how strong the response to addictive drugs is. A research team at Heidelberg University and the Sorbonne University in Paris (France) made the discovery in mice treated with cocaine. The researchers led by Hilmar Bading (Heidelberg) and Peter Vanhoutte (Paris) demonstrated that the protein Npas4 regulates the structure and function of nerve cells that control addiction behaviour in mice. If the quantity of Npas4 was reduced in an experiment, the animals’ response to cocaine was much weaker.

"In the animal model, Npas4 acts as a molecular regulator for the sensitivity to drugs of abuse. ...
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