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Mol Cells. 2017 Jun 30;40(6):379-385. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2017.0088. Epub 2017 Jul 12.

Alterations in Striatal Circuits Underlying Addiction-Like Behaviors.

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Department of Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang 37673, Korea.


Drug addiction is a severe psychiatric disorder characterized by the compulsive pursuit of drugs of abuse despite potential adverse consequences. Although several decades of studies have revealed that psychostimulant use can result in extensive alterations of neural circuits and physiology, no effective therapeutic strategies or medicines for drug addiction currently exist. Changes in neuronal connectivity and regulation occurring after repeated drug exposure contribute to addiction-like behaviors in animal models. Among the involved brain areas, including those of the reward system, the striatum is the major area of convergence for glutamate, GABA, and dopamine transmission, and this brain region potentially determines stereotyped behaviors. Although the physiological consequences of striatal neurons after drug exposure have been relatively well documented, it remains to be clarified how changes in striatal connectivity underlie and modulate the expression of addiction-like behaviors. Understanding how striatal circuits contribute to addiction-like behaviors may lead to the development of strategies that successfully attenuate drug-induced behavioral changes. In this review, we summarize the results of recent studies that have examined striatal circuitry and pathway-specific alterations leading to addiction-like behaviors to provide an updated framework for future investigations.


addiction-like behaviors; circuit-specific modulation; drug addiction; striatal circuits

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