Posted on March 20, 2014
On March 26 at from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., guest speaker Dr. Matthew Buczynski will present his lecture titled “The Role of Endocannabinoid Signaling in Nicotine Addiction.” As part of the Department of Psychology’s colloquium series, this event will be held in PSY 154.
The following is Dr. Buczynski’s abstract:
Nicotine addiction is a complex behavioral phenomenon resulting from repeated and prolonged drug exposure, where alterations in synaptic transmission contribute to a progression of addiction-related behaviors including reward, dependence, and relapse. Chronic nicotine exposure (CNE) triggers changes in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain that produce enhanced dopaminergic (DA) signaling, and most therapeutic approaches for smoking cessation currently target this system. However, the mechanism connecting nicotine intake to changes in VTA signaling remains unclear. In this regard, the endocannabinoid system has been proposed as a potential candidate underlying CNE-induced changes. The data presented in this lecture support the hypothesis that CNE alters endocannbinoid signaling in the VTA to promote nicotine-induced dopamine release and subsequent rewarding effects. These results demonstrate that excessive endocannabinoid signaling is necessary and sufficient to enhance DA signaling during CNE, and may represent a novel treatment approach for nicotine addiction.