The mechanisms underlying the development of drug dependence are largely unknown. Vargas-Perez et al. show that elevated levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain increases the likelihood that rats will become dependent on opiates, such as heroin and morphine. Administration of exogenous BDNF in the VTA caused a change in GABA-mediated signaling from inhibitory to excitatory neurotransmission. BDNF also intensified the characteristic behavioral effects of drug use, and induced changes in the brain consistent with drug dependence and subsequent withdrawal. This work suggests that BDNF within the VTA induces the transition to a drug-dependent motivational state and provides insight into the pathology associated with drug addiction.
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RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT| 24 June 2009
Addiction: BDNF induces dependence
Online ISSN: 1754-8411
Print ISSN: 1754-8403
Dis Model Mech (2009) 2 (7-8): 314.
Addiction: BDNF induces dependence. Dis Model Mech 24 June 2009; 2 (7-8): 314. doi:
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