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Modulation of the Behavioral and Neurochemical Effects of Psychostimulants by κ-Opioid Receptor Systems


Address for correspondence: T.S. Shippenberg, Integrative Neuroscience Unit, NIDA Intramural Research Program, 5500 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224. Voice: 1-410-550-1451; fax: 1-410-550-1692;


Abstract: The repeated, intermittent use of cocaine and other drugs of abuse produces profound and often long-lasting alterations in behavior and brain chemistry. It has been suggested that these consequences of drug use play a critical role in drug craving and relapse to addiction. This article reviews the effects of psychostimulant administration on dopaminergic and excitatory amino acid neurotransmission in brain regions comprising the brain's motive circuit and provides evidence that the activation of endogenous κ-opioid receptor systems in these regions opposes the behavioral and neurochemical consequences of repeated drug use. The role of this opioid system in mediating alterations in mood and affect that occur during abstinence from repeated psychostimulant use are also discussed.