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Aldo Badiani"Addictive drugs: where you take them can make a difference"

Abstract :

It has been known for a long time that the behavioral effects of addictive drugs can be modulated by the context in which they are administered.
Nevertheless, very little is known about the neurobiological bases of this interaction. The goal of this talk is to review the findings obtained with an animal model of drug-environment interaction and to discuss its implications for the study of the drug addiction. In this model a relatively simple environmental manipulation was shown to powerfully modulate both the acute and the long-term effects of amphetamine, cocaine, and morphine. Interestingly, only drug effects depending on the activity of the mesolimbic dopamine system, such as psychomotor activity and drug discrimination, appear to be susceptible to this manipulation. In particular, environmental novelty was shown to potentiate amphetamine-, cocaine- and morphine-induced hyperactivity, and the development of sensitization to these effects, but not morphine-induced analgesia or eating. It was also found that the modulatory effects of environment on the behavioral response to drugs is not accompanied by changes in their primary neuropharmacological actions but by the recruitment of additional neuronal circuitry in a number of brain areas, including the caudate putamen, the amygdala, and the subthalamic nucleus.