Rainer Spanagel

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The mesolimbic dopaminergic system has been implicated in mediating the motivational effects of opioids and other drugs of abuse. The site of action of opioids within this system and the role of endogenous opioid peptides in modulating dopamine activity therein remain unknown. Employing the technique of in vivo microdialysis and the administration of highly(More)
Addictive drugs hijack mechanisms of learning and memory that normally underlie reinforcement of natural rewards and induce synaptic plasticity of glutamatergic transmission in the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system. In the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a single exposure to cocaine efficiently triggers NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity in DA neurons,(More)
Despite the generally held view that alcohol is an unspecific pharmacological agent, recent molecular pharmacology studies demonstrated that alcohol has only a few known primary targets. These are the NMDA, GABA(A), glycine, 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 (serotonin) and nicotinic ACh receptors as well as L-type Ca(2+) channels and G-protein-activated inwardly(More)
Alcohol consumption is an integral part of daily life in many societies. The benefits associated with the production, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages come at an enormous cost to these societies. The World Health Organization ranks alcohol as one of the primary causes of the global burden of disease in industrialized countries. Alcohol-related diseases,(More)
Investigations using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster have shown that the circadian clock gene period (Per) can influence behavioral responses to cocaine. Here we show that the mouse homologues of the Drosophila Per gene, mPer1 and mPer2, modulate cocaine sensitization and reward, two phenomena extensively studied in humans and animals because of their(More)
Mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons are thought to serve as a final common neural pathway for mediating reinforcement processes. However, several recent findings have challenged the view that mesolimbic dopamine has a crucial role in the maintenance of reinforcement processes, or the subjective rewarding actions of natural rewards and drugs of abuse. Instead,(More)
Cocaine strengthens excitatory synapses onto midbrain dopamine neurons through the synaptic delivery of GluR1-containing AMPA receptors. This cocaine-evoked plasticity depends on NMDA receptor activation, but its behavioral significance in the context of addiction remains elusive. Here, we generated mice lacking the GluR1, GluR2, or NR1 receptor subunits(More)
An involvement of the mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system in mediating the motivational effects of opioids has been suggested. Accordingly, the present study employed the technique of in vivo microdialysis to examine the effects of selective mu-, delta-, and kappa- opioids on DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NAC) of anesthetized rats. Microdialysis probes(More)
Some psychoactive drugs are abused because of their ability to act as reinforcers. As a consequence behavioural patterns (such as drug-seeking/drug-taking behaviours) are promoted that ensure further drug consumption. After prolonged drug self-administration, some individuals lose control over their behaviour so that these drug-seeking/taking behaviours(More)
Period (Per) genes are involved in regulation of the circadian clock and are thought to modulate several brain functions. We demonstrate that Per2(Brdm1) mutant mice, which have a deletion in the PAS domain of the Per2 protein, show alterations in the glutamatergic system. Lowered expression of the glutamate transporter Eaat1 is observed in these animals,(More)