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Neuropharmacology. 2004;47 Suppl 1:324-44.

Evolving perspectives on neurobiological research on the addictions: celebration of the 30th anniversary of NIDA.

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Laboratory of the Biology of the Addictive Diseases, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, Box 171, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The roots of the Laboratory of the Biology of the Addictive Diseases are in the development of methadone maintenance for the treatment of opiate addiction. Methadone maintenance therapy continues to be one of the major effective forms of addiction pharmacotherapy and underscores the importance of biological factors in the physiology and treatment of the addictive diseases. Recent work in the Laboratory has focused on the neurobiological, neurochemical, neuroendocrine and behavioral aspects of addictive diseases (principally cocaine and the opiate addictions), using an interdisciplinary approach. The models we have focused on range from in vitro molecular biology and neuroscience, to in vivo animal models, to experiments in normal human populations and patients with specific addictive diseases, and most recently to the human molecular genetics of different addictive diseases. Two long-term corollary hypotheses have guided the Laboratory's work: (1) That the endogenous opioid peptide/receptor systems play a central role in the addictive states and therefore in their treatment. (2) That atypical responsivity to stressors (e.g., in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) plays a role in vulnerability and relapse to specific addictive diseases. This atypical responsivity may be drug-induced, environmentally acquired, and/or due to genetic variation.

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