dopamine and addiction

dopamine and addiction - Box 1 | Dopamine and euphoria: not...

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Box 1 | Dopamine and euphoria: not so simple Use of the term ‘reward circuit’ to refer to the mesolimbic dopamine system (and occasionally to its downstream connections) has long provided a useful heuristic for the role of these neurons in the powerful effects of addictive drugs.At the same time, this terminology implies that an important role for dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) or prefrontal cortex is to directly mediate the hedonic impact of drugs; that is, the subjective experience of ‘pleasure’. There is substantial evidence that this is not the case and, indeed, that dopamine has more complex roles.Unpleasant,noxious stimuli, such as tail pinch in a rat, can increase the firing of midbrain dopamine cells and thereby cause the release of dopamine in the NAc, as can novel stimuli that have no obvious rewarding or pleasurable properties.As described in the main text, after an experimental animal has learned about the cues that predict reward, the timing of dopamine neuron firing, and therefore of release,
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2011 for the course PSB 6087 taught by Professor Stehouwer during the Fall '08 term at University of Florida.

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