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NIDA

Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care

Exposure to some drugs of abuse can change the structure of neurons in the brain.

Image of neuronal dendrites in nucleus accumbens shows more spines in amphetamine exposed animals

Stimulants like amphetamines can alter the structure of neurons. In this case, the dendrites of dopamine neurons in the nucleus accumbens—a part of the reward pathway—have more dendritic spines or connections in the amphetamine exposed animal compared to one treated only with saline.

This page was last updated July 2008