Cocaine’s Effects On Brain Metabolism May Contribute To Abuse

Many studies on cocaine addiction – and attempts to block its addictiveness – have focused on dopamine transporters, proteins that reabsorb the brain’s “reward” chemical once its signal is sent. Since cocaine blocks dopamine transporters from doing their recycling job, it leaves the feel-good chemical around to keep sending the pleasure signal. Now a new study suggests that cocaine’s effects go beyond the dopamine system. In the study, cocaine had significant effects on brain metabolism, even in mice that lack the gene for dopamine transporters.

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