The project studied certain brain neurons to determine potential strategies to prevent relapse into cocaine addiction.
Relapse is a persistent problem facing cocaine addicts. A more thorough understanding of the brains systems responsible for relapse is needed in order to develop new therapeutic strategies. This project examined the role of GABAergic neurons in the brain’s ventral tegmental area (VTA) in a rat model of relapse, using a novel combinatorial viral vector system to selectively deliver DREADDs (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs) to VTA GABA neurons to determine whether VTA GABA is involved in regulating the behavioral responses to cocaine-associated cues. The result may establish a potential efficacious target for treating cocaine cravings and relapse in cocaine addicts.
Caroline E. Bass, PhD
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)