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 language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Synaptic Plasticity|
|Subtitle of host publication||Cell Biology, Regulation and Role in Disease|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|
|Number of pages||23|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2012|
ASJC Scopus subject areas