Research Highlight: Molecular control of cocaine’s consequences on the brain and behaviour

The ENP team of Jocelyne Caboche and Peter Vanhoutte (UPMC) have pioneered findings on the interplay of two key neurotransmitter systems that are recruited by drugs of abuse to change behaviour, namely Dopamine and Glutamate. In this study, first-authored by ENP graduate alumni Emma Cahill, they asked whether direct receptor-receptor interactions could contribute to cocaine’s effects. This hypothesis was confirmed. Blocking the receptor complex formed between Dopamine and Glutamate receptors (D1R/GluN1), using an interfering peptide designed by the team, prevented cocaine-induced changes at multiple levels, including the behaviour of cocaine-treated mice. 

Check out the research article, open access 

Cahill E, Salery M, Vanhoutte P and Caboche J (2014) Convergence of dopamine and glutamate signaling onto striatal ERK activation in response to drugs of abuse. Front. Pharmacol4:172. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2013.00172

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