4: Opioids binding to opioid receptors in the nucleus accumbens: increased dopamine release
This is a close-up view of a synapse in the nucleus accumbens. Three types of neurons participate in opioids’ action; one that releases dopamine (on the left), a neighboring terminal (on the right) containing a different neurotransmitter (probably GABA for those who would like to know), and the post-synaptic cell containing dopamine receptors (in pink). Show that opioids bind to opioid receptors (yellow) on the neighboring terminal and this sends a signal to the dopamine terminal to release more dopamine. [In case someone asks how--one theory is that opioid receptor activation decreases GABA release, which normally inhibits dopamine release--so dopamine release is increased.]
Cite this article
NIDA. (2019, November 19). The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/neurobiology-drug-addiction
Explores the consequences of drug abuse on the brain and body and introduces the topics of prevention, and treatment.