Consumption of addictive drugs causes changes in the brain areas involved in rewarding behaviours that are essential to an animal's survival and adaptation. One of these areas is the nucleus accumbens. Normally occurring synaptic plasticity in the nucleus accumbens; such as a long-term decrease in synaptic strength mediated by cannabinoids (long-term depression); can change after brief or chronic exposure to addictive drugs.
My project will examine commonalities between changes in long-term depression in the nucleus accumbens induced by in vivo administration of major classes of addictive drugs. I will then look for these changes in an animal model of addiction, where the animals display drug seeking behaviours similar to people suffering from withdrawal.
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