Drug addiction is a compulsive drug disease and represents a serious social and health problem. Helping the drug dependent individual to reorient his behavior toward non-drug natural rewarding activities is a great challenge in drug dependence therapy. our aim is to compare natural reward such as social interaction with drug reward such as cocaine in a vertical approach ranging from the behavioural to the molecular level.
We aim to:
1) manipulate pharmacologically intracellular pathways (for example CREB upstream kinases) in the reward-associated regions (such as the nucleus accumbens) of the brain and study the subsequent effect on behavior specifically on the cocaine preference.
2) investigate the molecular mechanisms that shift the preference away/to cocaine preference.
3) investigate the persistence of natural reward such as social interaction.
4) study the functional involvement of specific molecular candidates in cocaine-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking.
5) modulation of social interaction reward in order to promote resilience against vulnerability to drugs of abuse.
This knowledge may not only be essential for the designing of effective behavioral and social strategies to prevent drug-related disorders but also may lead to the identification of new targets for the development of new medications for the treatment of drug addiction and other psychiatric diseases.