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D2 Receptors Fight Addiction
By Harvey Black Mice, which have been experimentally addicted to alcohol show a decrease in alcohol consumption when the population of D2 receptors in their brains is increased, Nora D. Volkow, associate director of Brookhaven National Laboratory reported at a symposium on addiction and the brain. In imaging studies, Volkow found that cocaine addicts had lower numbers of these receptors for dopamine than did individuals not addicted to the drug. She reasoned that fewer receptors mean "there is more pressure to get addictive drugs. Maybe the higher level of receptors protects against drugs." Cocaine and other powerfully addictive drugs are known to activate the brain's dopamine circuits. After addicting the mice to alcohol, she injected D2 genes in adenovirus vectors into the mice. That resulted in a temporary increase into the number of D2 receptors. Before...