A newly identified mechanism may help explain why repeated cocaine administration leads to strong cravings for the drug, according to research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Previous studies have demonstrated that repeated cocaine administration leads to persistent changes both in gene expression and in the structure of the nucleus accumbens of the brain. Now a multi-institutional team of scientists has demonstrated, through a series of experiments in mice, that repeated cocaine administration suppresses the activity of G9A, an enzyme that helps regulate whether genes are turned on or off (Maze I et al. Science. 2010;327:213-216).
Kuehn BM. Cocaine Addiction. JAMA. 2010;303(8):722. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.166