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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Feb;42(3):587-597. doi: 10.1038/npp.2016.117. Epub 2016 Jul 6.

The Naturally Occurring Compound Garcinia Indica Selectively Impairs the Reconsolidation of a Cocaine-Associated Memory.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
The Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


Sustained abstinence from cocaine use is frequently compromised by exposure to environmental stimuli that have previously been strongly associated with drug taking. Such cues trigger memories of the effects of the drug, leading to craving and potential relapse. Our work has demonstrated that manipulating cocaine-cue memories by destabilizing them through interfering with the reconsolidation process is one potential therapeutic tool by which to prolong abstinence. Here, we examine the use of the naturally occurring amnestic agent garcinol to manipulate an established cocaine-cue memory. Rats underwent 12 days of cocaine self-administration training during which time active lever presses resulted in an i.v. infusion of cocaine that was paired with a light/tone cue. Next rats underwent lever extinction for 8 days followed by light/tone reactivation and a test of cue-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. Systemic injection of garcinol 30 min after reactivation significantly impaired the reconsolidation of the cocaine-associated cue memory. Further testing revealed that garcinol had no effect on drug-induced cocaine-seeking, but was capable of blocking the initial conditioned reinforcing properties of the cue and prevents the acquisition of a new response. Additional experiments showed that the effects of garcinol are specific to reactivated memories only, temporally constrained, cue-specific, long-lasting, and persist following extended cocaine access. These data provide strong evidence that the naturally occurring compound, garcinol, may be a potentially useful tool to sustain abstinence from drug abuse.

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