Molecule Can Curb Addicts' Cravings

Discussion in 'General Addiction discussion' started by Alfa, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    Jan 14, 2003
    117 y/o from The Netherlands
    Blocking Agent Not Yet Tested In Humans
    SASKATOON - A University of Saskatchewan-led team has developed an agent that could universally block a gamut of addictions, from nicotine to alcohol to cocaine.
    But researchers don't know yet if the synthetic peptide that stemmed addiction to nicotine and marijuana in rats is safe or effective in humans.
    In research published yesterday in the March edition of Nature Medicine, investigators show a molecule called PTEN interacts with receptors that in turn excite dopamine neurons --the cells responsible for signalling pleasure.
    A synthetic peptide called Tat-3L4F interrupted that interaction and stopped rats from being addicted to both nicotine and marijuana.
    Although only tested with nicotine and marijuana, Dr. Xia Zhang, associate professor of psychiatery at the University of Saskatchewan, said the treatment could work for a range of illicit drugs because they all act by exciting dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the brain.
    In the study, rats were placed in a white box after receiving injections of addictive drugs, and placed in a black box on alternate days, when they received a placebo, or drugless, injection. Later, researchers placed the rats between the black and white boxes and recorded how much time they spent in each.
    Rats who were addicted to nicotine or marijuana, but received the special interfering peptide, spent equal time in the black and white boxes, signalling they had kicked their addictions. Rats who didn't get the peptide spent most of their time in the white boxes.
  2. pharmapsyche

    pharmapsyche AKA Miss Methylene Titanium Member

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    Oct 17, 2005
    This is very interesting! It's cool how they believe that just one certian molecule, as you said, PTEN, interacts with receptors that in turn excite dopamine neurons. I would imagine that this molecule would work exteremly well for Meth-amphetamine and Amphetamine addicts, consdiering the fact that Amphetamines work by releasing dopamine. I can't wait to hear more on this subject.
    For a little more information on drug addiction, i found this article which was published back in 1996, but it does help back up your article....

    David J Nutt
    University of Bristol
    Psychopharmacology Unit
    School of Medical Sciences
    University Walk, Bristol BS81TD, UK
    (D J Nutt FRCPsych)
    The Lancet 1996; 347: 31-36

    The processes of addiction involve alterations in brain function because misused drugs are neuroactive substances that alter brain transmitter function. Then is an impressive and rapidly growing research base that is giving important insights into the neurochemical and molecular actions of drugs of misuse--the processes that are likely to determine such misuse in human beings. Exciting new developments in neuroimaging with both PET (positron emission tomography) and SPELT (single photon emission computed tomography) provide, for the first time, the possibility of testing in human beings theories of drug addiction derived from preclinical studies.

    For most drugs of misuse, the molecular sites of action are receptors or transporter sites; many of these have been cloned and sequenced, discoveries which in themselves are important advances for molecular biology. The dopamine transporter was cloned to expedite the understanding of cocaine's action;5 all three of the opioid receptors and the multiple subunits of the γ-aminobutyric acid agonist A-type (GABA A) receptor have also been cloned. Such discoveries help direct research towards a more rational design of treatment, and help develop theories of the brain mechanisms underlying addiction. There is a large research effort being directed towards finding a drug that will bind to the dopamine transporter and prevent the binding, and hence the actions, of cocaine without interfering with dopamine uptake.

    ....looks like were on the right road to finding better addiction treatment!