Researchers Find Brain Activity that Leads to Cocaine Addiction

Could be useful in creating new anti-addiction medication


Researchers have identified a new molecular mechanism that alters the brain's reward circuits after an individual has consumed cocaine.

Detailed in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the discovery could provide a potential drug target for anti-addiction medications.

When administering chronic cocaine to lab mice, the research team from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai saw increased levels of an enzyme called PARP-1, which led to an increase in its RAR marks at genes in the nucleus accumbens.  These epigenetic changes altered the activity of the nucleus accumbens, ultimately contributing to long-term addiction to cocaine.