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NIDA Notes Articles: All

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Researchers Identify Rare Gene Variants Associated With Smoking and Alcohol Use

May 2020
International research teams analyzed several hundred thousand samples from 17 whole-exome sequencing studies to identify rare gene variants associated with smoking and alcohol use. They identified rare variants in 117 DNA regions as being associated with specific aspects of nicotine and alcohol use, including some in genes already known to influence these traits.

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Expression of a Gene in the Brain Links Nicotine Addiction to Diabetes

May 2020
Rats with a disrupted transcription factor 7-like 2 (Tcf7l2) gene in the medial habenula showed markedly greater nicotine intake than control rats. Reduced Tcf7l2 expression in the medial habenula reduced the normally observed increase in blood sugar in response to nicotine.

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Mu Opioid Receptors in One Brain Region Contribute to Naloxone Aversion

April 2020
Mice genetically engineered to lack mu opioid receptors in the medial habenula were less sensitive to the unpleasant effects of the opioid antagonist naloxone and showed fewer naloxone-induced withdrawal symptoms.

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Many People Treated for Opioid Overdose in Emergency Departments Die Within 1 Year

April 2020
About 1 in 20 patients treated for a nonfatal opioid overdose in an emergency department died within 1 year of their visit, many within 2 days. Two-thirds of these deaths were directly attributed to subsequent opioid-related overdoses.

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Stronger Brain Circuit Connectivity May Predict Nicotine Dependence Severity

March 2020
The degree of connectivity of a neuronal network in the rat brain before nicotine exposure can help predict nicotine dependence severity after nicotine exposure as well as reversal of dependence after a period of abstinence.

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Serotonin Receptor Agonist Lorcaserin Reduces Relapse to Drug Use in Monkeys

March 2020
The serotonin 2C receptor agonist lorcaserin reduced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior in response to heroin or cocaine in a nonhuman primate model of relapse.

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E-Cigarette Characteristics May Influence Use and Are Potential Targets for Regulatory Policy

March 2020
People’s decisions to use e-cigarettes, as well as perceptions about associated risks, are influenced by the e-cigarettes’ nicotine levels and available flavors. The influence of these characteristics on decision-making and perceived risk differs between people who smoke cigarettes and people who do not smoke.

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Antiretroviral Therapy Combined With CRISPR Gene Editing Can Eliminate HIV Infection in Mice

February 2020
This study found that HIV-1 could be eliminated in mice using a combination of two antiviral technologies—long-acting viral reservoir–targeted antiretroviral therapy and CRISPR/Cas-9 gene editing. HIV was undetectable in 9 out of 23 mice that received the combination treatment. HIV was not eliminated in any of the mice that were given either treatment alone.

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Part 2: Immunotherapies—A New Tool To Treat Methamphetamine Addiction?

February 2020
Researchers move their monoclonal antibody (mAb) into clinical trials to see if it can be an effective treatment for methamphetamine use.

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Part 1: Immunotherapies—A New Tool To Treat Methamphetamine Addiction?

January 2020
Researchers have created a monoclonal antibody (mAb) that is intended to interact with methamphetamine and decrease its ability to enter the brain.

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