Synaptic plasticity in addiction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Drug addiction, defined as compulsive drug use despite serious negative consequences, has been one of the major social problems facing modern societies. A growing body of evidence suggests that drug exposure induces a series of adaptive changes within the brain reward circuitry, some of which are extremely long-lasting and which may mediate maladaptive emotion/reward learning and memory, thus leading to addiction. Here, we review recent findings concerning drug-induced neuronal plasticity occurring at excitatory synapses in the brain areas that make up the reward circuitry. Given that the synapse plays a critical role in neuronal plasticity, drug-induced synaptic plasticity may critically mediate the formation of drug-related memories and thereby, addictive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSynaptic Plasticity
Subtitle of host publicationCell Biology, Regulation and Role in Disease
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781620810040
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Dong, Y., & Zukin, R. S. (2012). Synaptic plasticity in addiction. In Synaptic Plasticity: Cell Biology, Regulation and Role in Disease (pp. 125-147). Nova Science Publishers, Inc..