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Study Finds Morphine, Cocaine Affect Brain Differently

morphine and cocaine.jpg

Morphine and cocaine are addictive in part because of the rewarding effects they have on the brain. But new research suggests that they do this in different ways.

A chemical known as BDNF is believed to boost the addictive nature of cocaine by keeping certain cells sensitive to the drug over time, increasing its rewarding effect on the brain. According to researchers involved in a recent study, BDNF has the opposite effect with morphine, decreasing the drug’s rewarding effect over time.

For the study, scientists removed either BDNF or its receptor molecule from a specific region in the brains of mice. After these procedures were done, morphine became more rewarding for the mice. The researchers concluded that BDNF dilutes the rewarding effect of morphine.

These findings may eventually lead to more specific and successful treatment options for addicts.

The study was published Thursday in the journal Science.

Source: Los Angeles Times