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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Nov 15;31(8):1639-53. Epub 2007 Aug 28.

Modeling the role of environment in addiction.

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Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Rome Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the main types of animal models used to investigate the modulatory role of environment on drug addiction. The environment can alter the responsiveness to addictive drugs in at least three major ways. First, adverse life experiences can make an individual more vulnerable to develop drug addiction or to relapse into drug seeking. Second, neutral environmental cues can acquire, through Pavlovian conditioning, the ability to trigger drug seeking even after long periods of abstinence. Third, the environment immediately surrounding drug taking can alter the behavioral, subjective, and rewarding effects of a given drug, thus influencing the propensity to use the same drug again. We have focused in particular on the results obtained using an animal model we have developed to study the latter type of drug-environment interaction.

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