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Brain Res. 2010 Feb 16;1314:15-28. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.07.028. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

Role of CRF and other neuropeptides in stress-induced reinstatement of drug seeking.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology/Groupe de Recherche en Neurobiologie Comportementale, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


A central problem in the treatment of drug addiction is high rates of relapse to drug use after periods of forced or self-imposed abstinence. This relapse is often provoked by exposure to stress. Stress-induced relapse to drug seeking can be modeled in laboratory animals using a reinstatement procedure. In this procedure, drug-taking behaviors are extinguished and then reinstated by acute exposure to stressors like intermittent unpredictable footshock, restraint, food deprivation, and systemic injections of yohimbine, an alpha-2 adrenoceptor antagonist that induces stress-like responses in humans and nonhumans. For this special issue entitled "The role of neuropeptides in stress and addiction", we review results from studies on the role of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and several other peptides in stress-induced reinstatement of drug seeking in laboratory animals. The results of the studies reviewed indicate that extrahypothalamic CRF plays a critical role in stress-induced reinstatement of drug seeking; this role is largely independent of drug class, experimental procedure, and type of stressor. There is also limited evidence for the role of dynorphins, hypocretins (orexins), nociceptin (orphanin FQ), and leptin in stress-induced reinstatement of drug seeking.

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