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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1995 Feb;37(2):91-4.

Introduction to the role of excitatory amino acids in the actions of abused drugs: a symposium presented at the 1993 annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC 27858-4354, USA.


Recent evidence has demonstrated that N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) and non-NMDA, excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptor antagonists block the motor stimulating, neurotoxic, and rewarding actions of cocaine and the amphetamines. The participants in this symposium discussed evidence that (i) the initiation of stimulant-induced behavioral sensitization involves NMDA receptor stimulation in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), (ii) competitive and non-competitive NMDA antagonists block the dopaminergic neurotoxic actions of methamphetamine, and (iii) NMDA receptor antagonists block cocaine and methamphetamine-induced increases in striatal neurotensin and dynorphin expression. Furthermore, a theoretical framework was proposed in which to interpret dopamine-glutamate interactions based on tonic and phasic dopamine release in the striatum under acute, chronic and withdrawal states of stimulant exposure.

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