Navigation Links
Abuse of painkillers can predispose adolescents to lifelong addiction

No child aspires to a lifetime of addiction. But their brains might. In new research to appear online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology this week, Rockefeller University researchers reveal that adolescent brains exposed to the painkiller Oxycontin can sustain lifelong and permanent changes in their reward system changes that increase the drug's euphoric properties and make such adolescents more vulnerable to the drug's effects later in adulthood.

The research, led by Mary Jeanne Kreek, head of the Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases, is the first to directly compare levels of the chemical dopamine in adolescent and adult mice in response to increasing doses of the painkiller. Kreek, first author Yong Zhang, a research associate in the lab, and their colleagues found that adolescent mice self-administered Oxycontin less frequently than adults, suggesting that adolescents were more sensitive to its rewarding effects. These adolescent mice, when re-exposed to a low dose of the drug as adults, also had significantly higher dopamine levels in the brain's reward center compared to adult mice newly exposed to the drug.

"Together, these results suggest that adolescents who abuse prescription pain killers may be tuning their brain to a lifelong battle with opiate addiction if they re-exposed themselves to the drug as adults," says Kreek. "The neurobiological changes seem to sensitize the brain to the drug's powerfully rewarding properties."

During adolescence, the brain undergoes marked changes. For example, the brain's reward pathway increases production of dopamine receptors until mid-adolescence and then either production declines or numbers of receptors decline. By abusing Oxycontin during this developmental period, adolescents may inadvertently trick the brain to keep more of those receptors than it really needs. If these receptors stick around and the adolescent is re-exposed to the drug as an adult, the rush of euphoria may be more addictive than the feeling experienced by adults who had never before tried the drug.

In contrast to illicit drug use among adolescents, the problem of nonmedical use of painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin has escalated in recent years, with the onset of abuse occurring most frequently in adolescents and young adults. Recent studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration have shown that 11 percent of persons 12 years old or older have used a prescription opiate illicitly. "Despite the early use of these drugs in young people, little is known about how they differentially affect adolescent brains undergoing developmental change," says Kreek. "These findings gives us a new perspective from which to develop better strategies for prevention and therapy."


Contact: Thania Benios
Rockefeller University

Related biology news :

1. Surviving the revolution, easier than withstanding human use and abuse
2. Study finds possible connection between marijuana abuse and stroke or heart attacks
3. A research of the UGR shows the genetic predisposition to develop alcohol abuse
4. Are some men predisposed to pedophilia?
5. Risks and benefits of antipsychotics in children and adolescents
6. Learning how to say no to alcohol advertising and peer pressure works for inner-city adolescents
7. Cocaine: How addiction develops
8. Large-scale investment catapults CAMHs mental illness and addiction research forward
9. Erasing drug-associated memories may stop drug addiction relapses
10. Corals addiction to junk food
11. Hungry mothers risk addiction in their adult children
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... , November 18, 2015 ... has published a new market report titled  Gesture Recognition ... and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to the report, the global ... and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 bn by 2021, ... North America dominated the ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... solutions, today announced expansion of its TDDI product ... touch controller and display driver integration (TDDI) solutions ... These new TDDI products add to the previously-announced ... TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) solutions. ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... LONDON , Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... segmented on the basis of product, type, ... segments included in this report are consumables, ... this report are safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, ... in this report are diagnostics development, drug ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , England , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Medical, an innovative medical device company specializing in imaging technologies, ... from the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 ... company to carry out a large-scale clinical trial in breast ...      (Logo: , --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE ... has adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) in ... operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 of the ... --> PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs could ... change" as defined in Section 382 of the Code. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Studies reveal the differences in species ... the way for more effective treatment for one of the ... --> --> Gum disease ... cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated ... conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, ... Kevin Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, ... Healthcare Conference in New York . ... to visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to ... A replay of the presentation will be available on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: