Allostasis and addiction

Role of the dopamine and corticotropin-releasing factor systems

  1. Calliope
    Study Author(s):
    Olivier George, Michel Le Moal, George F. Koob
    Journal Name:
    Physiology & Behavior 106 (2012) 58–64
    Publication Date:
    Allostasis, originally conceptualized to explain persistent morbidity of arousal and autonomic function, is defined as the process of achieving stability through physiological or behavioral change. Two types of biological processes have been proposed to describe the mechanisms underlying allostasis in drug addiction, a within-system adaptation and a between-system adaptation. In the within-system process, the drug elicits an opposing, neutralizing reaction within the same system in which the drug elicits its primary and unconditioned reinforcing actions, while in the between-system process, different neurobiological systems that the one initially activated by the drug are recruited. In this review, we will focus our interest on alterations in the dopa-minergic and corticotropin releasing factor systems as within-system and between-system neuroadaptations respectively, that underlie the opponent process to drugs of abuse. We hypothesize that repeated compromised activity in the dopaminergic system and sustained activation of the CRF–CRF1R system with withdrawal episodes may lead to an allostatic load contributing significantly to the transition to drug addiction.