Cocaine - Cocaine Cocaine works on the pleasure circuit to...

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Cocaine Cocaine works on the pleasure circuit to prevent re- absorption of dopamine after its release from nerve cells. Normally, neurons that are part of the pleasure circuit release dopamine, which then crosses the synapse to stimulate another neuron in the pleasure circuit. Once this is accomplished, the dopamine is picked up by a transporter molecule and carried back to the original neuron. However, because cocaine binds to the dopamine transporter molecule, it prevents the re-absorption of dopamine. This causes a buildup of dopamine in the synapse, which results in those strong feelings of pleasure and euphoria. The excess dopamine that accumulates in the synapse causes the neurons that have dopamine receptors to decrease the number of receptors they make. This is called down regulation. When cocaine is no longer taken and dopamine levels return to their normal (lower) level of concentration, the smaller number of dopamine receptors to which the neurotransmitter can bind is insufficient to fully
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course COUN 494 taught by Professor Peggyrapp during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.

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Cocaine - Cocaine Cocaine works on the pleasure circuit to...

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