A new animal study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) finds that small molecules called microRNA seem to play a role in regulating cocaine use, a discovery that eventually could lead to the development of novel new addiction treatments.
HealthDay News reported July 9 that researcher Paul J. Kenny of Scripps Research Institute and colleagues found that certain microRNA – which play a role in communicating genetic information — became more active when lab rats were given cocaine. The scientists found that the rats enjoyed cocaine less when microRNA levels rose, but liked the drug more when levels of the genetic molecules declined.
The research could provide clues about why some people are more vulnerable to cocaine addiction than others, researchers said. MicroRNA could play a role in the body switching from cocaine use to addiction, experts added.
The findings were published in the July 8, 2010 issue of the journal Nature.