The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

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    The IRP is served by the best and brightest in the scientific community. Find out more about the scientists striving to solve the puzzles of drug addiction and its effects on the human brain.

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    The research of the Intramural Research Program is supported at the molecular, genetic, cellular, animal, and clinical levels and is conceptually integrated, highly innovative, and focused on major problems in the field of drug addiction research.

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    Intramural Research Program (IRP) of the National Institute on Drug Abuse is dedicated to innovative research on basic mechanisms that underlie drug abuse and dependence, and to develop new methods for the treatment of drug abuse and dependence.

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Featured paper of the Month!

MAY: Neural Estimates of Imagined Outcomes in Basolateral Amygdala Depend on Orbitofrontal Cortex

Neuron. 2013 Oct 16; 80(2): 10.1016

Yuji K. Takahashi, Chun Yun Chang, Federica Lucantonio, Richard Z. Haney, Benjamin A. Berg, Hau-Jie Yau, Antonello Bonci, and Geoffrey Schoenbaum

Imagination, defined as the ability to interpret reality in ways that diverge from past experience, is fundamental to adaptive behavior. This can be seen at a simple level in our capacity to predict novel outcomes in new situations. The ability to anticipate outcomes never before received can also influence learning if those imagined outcomes are not received....

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Reviews to Read

Basal ganglia circuit loops, dopamine and motivation: A review and enquiry

Satoshi Ikemoto, Chen Yang, Aaron Tan

Dopamine neurons located in the midbrain play a role in motivation that regulates approach behavior (approach motivation). In addition, activation and inactivation of dopamine neurons regulate mood and induce reward and aversion, respectively. Accumulating evidence suggests that such motivational role of dopamine neurons is not limited to those located in the ventral tegmental area, but also in the substantia nigra....

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Hot off the Press!

Genome-wide DNA hydroxymethylation identifies potassium channels in the nucleus accumbens as discriminators of methamphetamine addiction and abstinence

Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Apr 5. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.48

Cadet JL, Brannock C, Krasnova IN, Jayanthi S, Ladenheim B, McCoy MT, Walther D, Godino A, Pirooznia M, Lee RS

Epigenetic consequences of exposure to psychostimulants are substantial but the relationship of these changes to compulsive drug taking and abstinence is not clear. Here, we used a paradigm that helped to segregate rats that reduce or stop their methamphetamine (METH) intake (nonaddicted) from those that continue to take the drug compulsively (addicted) in the presence of footshocks....

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The nutrient sensor OGT in PVN neurons regulates feeding

Science. 2016 Mar 18;351(6279):1293-6

Olof Lagerlöf, Julia E. Slocomb, Ingie Hong, Yeka Aponte, Seth Blackshaw, Gerald W. Hart, Richard L. Huganir

Maintaining energy homeostasis is crucial for the survival and health of organisms. The brain regulates feeding by responding to dietary factors and metabolic signals from peripheral organs. It is unclear how the brain interprets these signals. O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) catalyzes the posttranslational modification of proteins by O-GlcNAc and is regulated by nutrient access....

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VTA glutamatergic inputs to nucleus accumbens drive aversion by acting on GABAergic interneurons

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Mar 28. doi: 10.1038/nn.4281. [Epub ahead of print]

Jia Qi, Shiliang Zhang, Hui-Ling Wang, David J Barker, Jorge Miranda-Barrientos & Marisela Morales

The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is best known for its dopamine neurons, some of which project to nucleus accumbens (nAcc). However, the VTA also has glutamatergic neurons that project to nAcc. The function of the mesoaccumbens glutamatergic pathway remains unknown. Here we report that nAcc photoactivation of mesoaccumbens glutamatergic fibers promotes aversion....

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Aggregated single-walled carbon nanotubes attenuate the behavioural and neurochemical effects of methamphetamine in mice

Nat Nanotechnol. 2016 Mar 14. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2016.23. [Epub ahead of print]

Xue Xue, Jing-Yu Yang, Yi He, Li-Rong Wang, Ping Liu, Li-Sha Yu, Guo-Hua Bi, Ming-Ming Zhu, Yue-Yang Liu, Rong-Wu Xiang, Xiao-Ting Yang, Xin-Yu Fan, Xiao-Min Wang, Jia Qi, Hong-Jie Zhang, Tuo Wei, Wei Cui, Guang-Lu Ge, Zheng-Xiong Xi, Chun-FuWu, and Xing-Jie Liang

Methamphetamine (METH) abuse is a serious social and health problem worldwide. At present, there are no effective medications to treat METH addiction1. Here, we report that aggregated single-walled carbon nanotubes (aSWNTs) significantly inhibited METH self-administration, METH-induced conditioned place preference and METH- or cue-induced relapse to drugseeking behaviour in mice....

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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.

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