New findings about the role of glutamate release in addiction


Zisis Bimpisidis and first author Maria Papathanou.
Photo by Åsa Mackenzie

Drug addiction is a multifacteted neuropsychiatric disorder chacterized by an interplay between the reforcing effect of dopamine and lasting alterations in glutamatergic synaptic strength. In a recent study conducted by Åsa Mackenzie´s lab in collaboration with colleagues in Geneva, Paris and Stockholm, glutamate co-release from midbrain dopamine neurons in mice is for the first time shown to contribute to maintaining normal synaptic plasticity in the striatum. While it has been well established that cortical glutamate has this role, this study is the first to identify the involvement of midbrain glutamate co-release in this critical process, a finding of importance to the understanding of the neurobiology underlying drug addiction. First author is Maria Papathanou, PhD, researcher in the Mackenzie lab.

Midbrain dopamine neurons co-expressing Th and Vglut2 identifies midbrain dopamine neurons that co-release glutamate and are in new study shown to contribute to synaptic alterations important in drug addiction. The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Neural Circuits. 

Read the article in its entirety here.