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New research illuminates cocaine's 'rewarding' effects

September 15, 2011
by News release
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Results ofa new study help explain the molecular basis of the opposing actions of the two different dopamine receptors that mediate the rewarding actions of cocaine.

The rewarding effects of cocaine result from its combined actions on two receptors: D1R and D2R, however, the molecular details are not fully understood. This study, which was funded by NIDA, NIDDK and NIAAA, took advantage of elegant genetic and optical tools to separately analyze what happens when cocaine activates each receptor exclusively. The results demonstrate that D1R stimulation causes fast neuronal activation whereas D2R stimulation causes slower neuronal deactivation. These results add important new information to our understanding of the differential contributions of the two dopamine receptor types to the net rewarding properties of cocaine. For more information, please contact the NIDA Press Office at 301-443-6245 or
media@nida.nih.gov.

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