Schizophrenia.com

How relapse happens: Opiates reduce the brain's ability to form, maintain synapses

The researchers found that the reduction in drebrin levels is regulated by changes in how an enzyme called HDAC2 facilitates access to the DNA. In addition, the study demonstrates that these changes occur exclusively in a specific type of cell within the nucleus accumbens, known as D1, which contains medium spiny neurons, the type of cells that make up this part of the reward center.

“Restoring drebrin back to normal levels in these specific brain cells was sufficient to reduce relapse behaviors,” said Dietz.

The research provides a critical and understudied insight into the mechanisms behind addiction and relapse behaviors, which in combination with future studies may lead to a novel and effective treatment to prevent relapse.