In what a press release described as “a major advance in the field of neuropsychiatry,” researchers from Oregon Health & Science University said they believe that they have gained a clearer understanding of precisely how cocaine, amphetamines and related psychostimulant drugs “disrupt the normal functioning of the dopamine transporter in the brain.” The study appeared in Nature.
The study authors noted that the biogenic amine transporters are the primary targets of both therapeutic and abused drugs, “ranging from antidepressants to the psychostimulants cocaine and amphetamines, and to their cognate substrates.”
“This discovery paves the way for developing treatments that could blunt the effects of cocaine and amphetamines in patients who are addicted,” stated the press release.
Researchers discover how cocaine, amphetamines disrupt the brain’s normal functioning (Oregon Health & Science University press release on ScienceDaily, May 11, 2015)
Wang, Kevin H., Aravind Penmatsa, and Eric Gouaux. “Neurotransmitter and Psychostimulant Recognition by the Dopamine Transporter.” Nature advance online publication (May 11, 2015). doi:10.1038/nature14431. (Abstract)