But rodents and humans share more than just the reward pathway. In fact, the entire set-up of the brain is nearly identical. And both use the same neurotransmitters and receptors, the same proteins for synaptic vesicle release and recycling, and similar signaling mechanisms. These functions are controlled by genes, so it makes sense that humans and rodents are similar genetically.
But if we share genes, then what makes humans and rodents so different? And some genes are active at different times or in different tissues throughout the development and life of the organism. Where and when a gene's protein product is made can sometimes produce in dramatic differences between organisms, contributing to their overall appearance and unique abilities. Animals are particularly valuable research tools because they allow scientists to conduct experiments that they could never perform on humans.
Many animals, especially mice, are greatly expanding our understanding of the complex disease of addiction. Even organisms that lack a complex brain, like the fruit fly and roundworm, share many of the pieces that make up the reward pathway.
They have the same neurotransmitters, receptors, and signaling mechanisms as we do. So scientists commonly study a variety of animals to learn about different aspects of human biology, including the reward pathway and addiction. The genomes of many organisms used in research have been sequenced. So when researchers discover a gene in a model organism that plays a role in addiction, they can then identify the counterpart gene in humans by searching a DNA database for similar sequences. Once they identify the human gene, they can study it. Chimpanzee , Pan troglodytes - 20,, genes same as human Just 50 human genes lack a known homologue in chimps.
Of the protein-coding genes in the human and chimp genomes, one-third have identical sequences. Zebrafish , Danio rerio - 25, genes Scientists routinely transfer human genes into zebrafish and study their functions. Roundworm , Caenorhabditis elegans - 19, genes Earliest organism with a central nervous system.
Cross-reinstatement by cocaine and amphetamine of morphine-induced place preference in mice. Behavioural Pharmacology , 16 , Adolescent pre-exposure to ethanol and 3, 4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine MDMA increases conditioned rewarding effects of MDMA and drug-induced reinstatement.
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Neural and psychological mechanisms underlying compulsive drug seeking habits and drug memories--indications for novel treatments of addiction. European Journal of Neuroscience, 40 , Fuchs, R. The role of the basolateral amygdala in stimulus—reward memory and extinction memory consolidation and in subsequent conditioned cued reinstatement of cocaine seeking.
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European Journal of Neuroscience , 23 , Long-term effects of repeated social stress on the conditioned place preference induced by MDMA in mice. Effects of acute social stress on the conditioned place preference induced by MDMA in adolescent and adult mice. Ghitza U. Frontiers in Psychiatry , 6, Giuliano, C.
Neuropsychopharmacology , 40, Goldberg, S. Second-order schedules: extended sequences of behavior controlled by brief environmental stimuli associated with drug self-administration. Behavior maintained under second-order schedules of intravenous morphine injection in squirrel and rhesus monkeys. Psychopharmacology , 51 , Graf, E.
Mantsch, J. Adrenal activity during repeated long-access cocaine self-administration is required for later CRF-induced and CRF-dependent stressor-induced reinstatement in rats. Neuropsychopharmacology , 36 , Hellemans, K. Disrupting reconsolidation of conditioned withdrawal memories in the basolateral amygdala reduces suppression of heroin seeking in rats. Inda, M.
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Memory retrieval and the passage of time: from reconsolidation and strengthening to extinction. Koob, G. Drugs, Addiction, and the Brain. Academic Press, NY. Neurobiology of addiction: a neurocircuitry analysis. Lancet Psychiatry, 3 , Lammel, S.
Animal Experiments in Addiction Science
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Cue-induced cocaine seeking and relapse are reduced by disruption of drug memory reconsolidation. Lenoir, M. Extended heroin access increases heroin choices over a potent nondrug alternative. Neuropsychopharmacology , 38 , Liu, X. Lu, L. Cocaine seeking over extended withdrawal periods in rats: different time courses of responding induced by cocaine cues versus cocaine priming over the first 6 months. Lv, X. Memantine presents different effects from MK in motivational and physical signs of morphine withdrawal. Manzanedo, C.
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Animal Models of Drug Addictions: High Hopes for Therapeutic Treatments – The ILAR Journal
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