Anatomy and pharmacology of cocaine priming-induced reinstatement of drug seeking

Heath D. Schmidt, Sharon M. Anderson, Katie R. Famous, Vidhya Kumaresan, R. Christopher Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Cocaine addiction in human addicts is characterized by a high rate of relapse following successful detoxification. Relapse to drug taking/seeking can be precipitated by several stimuli including, but not limited to, re-exposure to cocaine itself. In order to understand the mechanisms underlying cocaine craving, a substantial effort has been devoted to elucidating the anatomical and neurochemical bases underlying cocaine priming-induced reinstatement, an animal model of relapse. Here, we review evidence that changes in dopaminergic and glutamatergic transmission in limbic/basal ganglia circuits of interconnected nuclei including the medial prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, ventral pallidum, amygdala, hippocampus, orbitofrontal cortex, neostriatum and thalamus underlie cocaine priming-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking. Maladaptive changes in the processing of motivationally relevant stimuli by these circuits following cocaine self-administration result in drug craving and compulsive drug seeking upon re-exposure to cocaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 5 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology


  • Addiction
  • Dopamine
  • Glutamate
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Relapse


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