Targeted Chemogenetic Stimulation of Rat VTA GABA Neurons in Cocaine Extinction and Reinstatement

The project will study 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 projects will examine 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.

Principal Investigators
Caroline E. Bass, PhD
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Funding Agency
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Grant Number