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Trends Neurosci. 1991 Jul;14(7):299-302.

The dopamine hypothesis of the reinforcing properties of cocaine.

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Neuroscience Branch, Addiction Research Center, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Baltimore, MD 21224.


A variety of evidence suggests a 'dopamine hypothesis' for the reinforcing properties of cocaine. This hypothesis proposes that cocaine binds at the dopamine transporter and mainly inhibits neurotransmitter re-uptake; the resulting potentiation of dopaminergic neurotransmission in mesolimbocortical pathways ultimately causes reinforcement. This model suggests potential medications for treatment of cocaine abuse and dependence. Some, but not all, pharmacological data in humans support the hypothesis and additional experimentation is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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