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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2009 Jun;20(4):403-10. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2009.01.002. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Dopamine receptors in the learning, memory and drug reward circuitry.

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Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


As primary targets of a variety of abused drugs G-protein-coupled dopamine receptors in the brain play an important role in mediating the various drug-induced alterations in neural and psychological processes thought to underlie the transition from voluntary drug use to habitual and progressively compulsive drug-taking. This review considers the functional involvement of the five major dopamine receptor subtypes in drug reinforcement and reward and discusses the development of addiction as a series of learning transitions from initial goal-directed behaviour to pathological stimulus-response habits in which drug-seeking behaviours are automatically elicited and maintained by cues and stimuli associated with drug rewards.

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