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The Role of the Ghrelin System in Drug Addiction.

Authors
  • Zallar, Lia J1
  • Farokhnia, Mehdi2
  • Tunstall, Brendan J3
  • Vendruscolo, Leandro F3
  • Leggio, Lorenzo4
  • 1 Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States; Neurobiology of Addiction Section, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, United States. , (United States)
  • 2 Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States. , (United States)
  • 3 Neurobiology of Addiction Section, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, United States. , (United States)
  • 4 Section on Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States; Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States. Electronic address: [email protected] , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
International review of neurobiology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
Volume
136
Pages
89–119
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/bs.irn.2017.08.002
PMID: 29056157
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

In the past years, a significant volume of research has implicated the appetitive hormone ghrelin in the mechanisms underlying drug use and addiction. From a neuroscientific standpoint, ghrelin modulates both reward and stress pathways, two key drivers of substance use behaviors. Previous investigations support a connection between the ghrelin system and alcohol, stimulants, and tobacco use in both animals and humans, while the research on opioids and cannabis is scarce. In general, upregulation of the ghrelin system seems to enhance craving for drugs as well as substances use. On the other hand, acute and chronic exposure to drugs of abuse influences the ghrelin system at different levels. This chapter summarizes the literature on the relationship between the ghrelin system and substance-related behaviors. We also review recent work investigating the ghrelin system as a potential pharmacological target for treating substance use disorders and discuss the need for additional research.

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