Featured Research Papers - The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Skip Navigation

Featured Research Papers

A figure from this month's paper.
A figure from this month's paper.

Featured Paper Archives
Featured paper of the Month!

August's Featured Paper!

Gangliosides and Ceramides Change in a Mouse Model of Blast Induced Traumatic Brain Injury

ACS Chem. Neurosci., 2013, 4 (4), pp 594–600

Amina S. Woods, Benoit Colsch, Shelley N. Jackson, Jeremy Post, Kathrine Baldwin, Aurelie Roux, Barry Hoffer, Brian M. Cox, Michael Hoffer, Vardit Rubovitch, Chaim G. Pick, J. Albert Schultz, and Carey Balaban.

Explosive detonations generate atmospheric pressure changes that produce nonpenetrating blast induced “mild” traumatic brain injury (bTBI). The structural basis for mild bTBI has been extremely controversial. The present study applies matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging to track the distribution of gangliosides in mouse brain tissue that were exposed to very low level of explosive detonations (2.5−5.5 psi peak overpressure). We observed major increases of the ganglioside GM2 in the hippocampus, thalamus, and hypothalamus after a single blast exposure. Moreover, these changes were accompanied by depletion of ceramides. No neurological or brain structural signs of injury could be inferred using standard light microscopic techniques. The first source of variability is generated by the Latency between blast and tissue sampling (peak intensity of the blast wave). These findings suggest that subtle molecular changes in intracellular membranes and plasmalemma compartments may be biomarkers for biological responses to mild bTBI. This is also the first report of a GM2 increase in the brains of mature mice from a nongenetic etiology.

You can read more about this paper at the website for ASC Chemical Neuroscience.

July's Featured Paper!

Elucidation of Structural Elements for Selectivity across Monoamine Transporters: Novel 2-[(Diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl]-acetamide (Modafinil) Analogues

J Med Chem 2014, 57, 1000-1013

Oluyomi M. Okunola-Bakare, Jianjing Cao, Theresa Kopajtic, Jonathan L. Katz, Claus J. Loland, Lei Shi, and Amy Hauck Newman.

You can read more about this paper at the website for PubMed.

June's Featured Paper!

Similar Roles of Substantia Nigra and Ventral Tegmental Dopamine Neurons in Reward and Aversion

J Neurosci. 2014 Jan 15;34(3):817-22. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1703-13.2014

Anton Ilango, Andrew J. Kesner, Kristine L. Keller, Garret D. Stuber, Antonello Bonci, Satoshi Ikemoto.

You can read more about this paper at the website for PubMed.

Related Information...

IRP Training Opportunities...


2009 Postbacs
Postdoc, Predoc, Postbac and Summer Student training opportunities available!


2009 Summer Students
Research & Training Program for Under-represented Populations

Dr. Federica Lucantonio.
Dr. Federica Lucantonio.

Hot off the Press Archives
Featured paper of the Month!

Orbitofrontal activation restores insight lost after cocaine use

Nature Neuroscience (2014) doi:10.1038/nn.3763

Federica Lucantonio, Yuji K Takahashi, Alexander F Hoffman, Chun Chang, Sheena Bali-Chaudhary, Yavin Shaham, Carl R Lupica, & Geoffrey Schoenbaum

Addiction is characterized by a lack of insight into the likely outcomes of one’s behavior. Insight, or the ability to imagine outcomes, is evident when outcomes have not been directly experienced. Using this concept, work in both rats and humans has recently identified neural correlates of insight in the medial and orbital prefrontal cortices. We found that these correlates were selectively abolished in rats by cocaine self-administration. Their abolition was associated with behavioral deficits and reduced synaptic efficacy in orbitofrontal cortex, the reversal of which by optogenetic activation restored normal behavior. These results provide a link between cocaine use and problems with insight. Deficits in these functions are likely to be particularly important for problems such as drug relapse, in which behavior fails to account for likely adverse outcomes. As such, our data provide a neural target for therapeutic approaches to address these defining long-term effects of drug use.

More about this paper

Orbitofrontal neurons infer the value and identity of predicted outcomes

Nature Communications 5:3926 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4926

Thomas A. Stalnaker, Nisha K. Cooch, Michael A. McDannald, Tzu-Lan Liu, Heather Wied, & Geoffrey Schoenbaum

More about this paper

Critical Role of Peripheral Vasoconstriction in Fatal Brain Hyperthermia Induced by MDMA (Ecstasy) under Conditions That Mimic Human Drug Use

J. Neurosci June 4, 2014 - 34(23):7754–7762

Eugene A. Kiyatkin, Albert H. Kim, Ken T. Wakabayashi, Michael H. Baumann, and Yavin Shaham

More about this paper

Health and Human Services Logo National Institute on Drug Abuse Logo


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

PDF documents require the free Adobe Reader. Microsoft Word documents require the free Microsoft Word viewer. Microsoft PowerPoint documents require the free Microsoft PowerPoint viewer. Flash content requires the free Adobe Flash Player.