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Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care

How can the environment shape the response to drugs?

Social stressor affects brain DA D2 receptors and drug self-administration

This study in non-human primates shows how social factors can influence the level of dopamine receptors and the propensity to self administer drugs. Illustrated above are PET images of the brains of monkeys that were initially individually housed (left) and then group housed (right). Those emerging at the top of their social rank – experiencing less stress and more access to natural rewards – expressed more dopamine receptors (bright yellow) and took less cocaine than did submissive monkeys (green symbols on graph).

This page was last updated July 2008