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Keywords:

  • nucleus accumbens;
  • reinstatement;
  • relapse;
  • synaptic plasticity;
  • pharmacotherapy;
  • receptor

A growing body of evidence indicates that repeated exposure to cocaine leads to profound changes in glutamate transmission in limbic nuclei, particularly the nucleus accumbens. This review focuses on preclinical studies of cocaine-induced behavioral plasticity, including behavioral sensitization, self-administration, and the reinstatement of cocaine seeking. Behavioral, pharmacological, neurochemical, electrophysiological, biochemical, and molecular biological changes associated with cocaine-induced plasticity in glutamate systems are reviewed. The ultimate goal of these lines of research is to identify novel targets for the development of therapies for cocaine craving and addiction. Therefore, we also outline the progress and prospects of glutamate modulators for the treatment of cocaine addiction.