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Dopamine signaling pathway that controls cocaine reward in mice identified

Researchers have thus far been unable to define how dopamine influences cocaine reward. A recent report published in Neuron has shown that cocaine administration increases dopamine levels in the striatum, activating a signaling pathway that was previously unknown.

Response of Mouse Brain to Cocaine
Illustration of the pathway by which dopamine may induce reward. Dopamine activates dopamine receptor 1 (DA1R), which initiates a biochemical chain of events leading to excitation.
Credit: Nagoya University