Molecular Neurobiology of Addiction
Article first published online: 18 FEB 2010
2001 American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
The American Journal on Addictions
Volume 10, Issue 3, pages 201–217, Summer 2001
How to Cite
Nestler, E. J. (2001), Molecular Neurobiology of Addiction. The American Journal on Addictions, 10: 201–217. doi: 10.1080/105504901750532094
- Issue published online: 18 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 18 FEB 2010
- Received January 4, 2001; accepted February 21, 2001.
Addiction can be viewed as a form of drug-induced neural plasticity. One of the best established molecular mechanisms of addiction is the upregulation of the cAMP second messenger pathway, which occurs in many neuronal cell types in response to chronic administration of opiates or other drugs of abuse. This upregulation and the resulting activation of the transcription factor CREB appear to mediate aspects of tolerance and dependence. In contrast, induction of another transcription factor, termed ΔFosB, exerts the opposite effect and may contribute to sensitized responses to drug exposure. Knowledge of these mechanisms could lead to more effective treatments for addictive disorders.