miRNA stunts drug addiction

The brain appears to contain molecular elements that can protect it from drug addiction -- specifically, small non-coding RNAs that inhibit the development of addiction in rats exposed to cocaine, according to a study published this week in Nature. Image: Wikimedia commons, AnetodeSpecifically, one particular microRNA (miRNA) "seems to actively decrease the motivation of the animal to take the drug," said behavioral neuroscientist and study author linkurl:Paul Kenny;http://www.scripps.edu/flor

Jef Akst
Jef Akst
Jul 6, 2010
The brain appears to contain molecular elements that can protect it from drug addiction -- specifically, small non-coding RNAs that inhibit the development of addiction in rats exposed to cocaine, according to a study published this week in Nature.
Image: Wikimedia commons,
Anetode
Specifically, one particular microRNA (miRNA) "seems to actively decrease the motivation of the animal to take the drug," said behavioral neuroscientist and study author linkurl:Paul Kenny;http://www.scripps.edu/florida/research/faculty.php?rec_id=8368 of The Scripps Research Institute in Florida. "This is the first molecular adaptation that leads to decreased drug intake" in animals that have prolonged and repeated exposure to a drug, said neuroscientist linkurl:Marina Picciotto;http://www.med.yale.edu/mdphd/administration/picciotto.htm of Yale University, who was not involved in the research. "This is a mechanism that has presumably evolved to keep the intracellular signaling pretty normal even in the face of stressors that change [the environmental conditions] pretty dramatically," such as drug abuse, added Picciotto, who wrote...
J.A. Hollander, et al., "Striatal microRNA controls cocaine intake through CREB signalling," Nature 466:197-202, 2010.