The December 2013 issue of “Synapse” featured a research article constructed by Quincy University Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Brian Nolan and associates. The study, entitled “Fos expression in response to dopamine D3-preferring phenylpiperazine drugs given with and without cocaine” is part of a series of studies examining the effects of several new drugs that are being evaluated for their potential to aid the treatment of addiction.
This study examined two drugs, nicknamed WC 10 and WC 44, which have previously been shown to bind to a type of dopamine receptor in the brain known as D3 and have been shown to decrease cocaine consumption in rats. D3 receptors are thought to play an important role in the development of addiction. This study used a type of staining procedure involving the protein Fos which allows the detection of recent neuron activity. What was not known for sure is whether injecting these drugs in a living organism (in this case, rats) would actually stimulate neurons in the brain regions where D3 receptors are found, such as the nucleus accumbens. This study was able to confirm that WC 10 and WC 44 do produce activity of neurons in the nucleus accumbens. This study helps to strengthen the case that drugs such as WC 10 and WC 44 should be given further consideration as therapeutic drugs to aid the treatment of addiction.
Nolan, B.C., Liu, S., Hammerslag, L.R., Cheung, T.H.C., Lenz, J., Mach, R.H., Luedtke, R.R., Neisewander, J.L. (2013). Fos expression in response to dopamine D3-preferring phenylpiperazine drugs given with and without cocaine. Synapse, 67(12): 847-855.
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