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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 4;105(44):17145-50. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0806889105. Epub 2008 Oct 27.

Reversal of cocaine addiction by environmental enrichment.

Author information

  • 1Institut de Physiologie et Biologie Cellulaires, Université de Poitiers, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Poitiers F-86022, France. marcello.solinas@univ-poitiers.fr

Abstract

Environmental conditions can dramatically influence the behavioral and neurochemical effects of drugs of abuse. For example, stress increases the reinforcing effects of drugs and plays an important role in determining the vulnerability to develop drug addiction. On the other hand, positive conditions, such as environmental enrichment, can reduce the reinforcing effects of psychostimulants and may provide protection against the development of drug addiction. However, whether environmental enrichment can be used to "treat" drug addiction has not been investigated. In this study, we first exposed mice to drugs and induced addiction-related behaviors and only afterward exposed them to enriched environments. We found that 30 days of environmental enrichment completely eliminates behavioral sensitization and conditioned place preference to cocaine. In addition, housing mice in enriched environments after the development of conditioned place preference prevents cocaine-induced reinstatement of conditioned place preference and reduces activation of the brain circuitry involved in cocaine-induced reinstatement. Altogether, these results demonstrate that environmental enrichment can eliminate already established addiction-related behaviors in mice and suggest that environmental stimulation may be a fundamental factor in facilitating abstinence and preventing relapse to cocaine addiction.

Comment in

PMID:
18955698
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2579392
Free PMC Article

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