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Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences

Mariana Angoa-Pérez, John H Anneken, Donald M Kuhn
The present review briefly explores the neurotoxic properties of methcathinone, mephedrone, methylone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), four synthetic cathinones most commonly found in "bath salts." Cathinones are β-keto analogs of the commonly abused amphetamines and display pharmacological effects resembling cocaine and amphetamines, but despite their commonalities in chemical structures, synthetic cathinones possess distinct neuropharmacological profiles and produce unique effects. Among the similarities of synthetic cathinones with their non-keto analogs are their targeting of monoamine systems, the release of neurotransmitters, and their stimulant properties...
October 18, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Jenny L Wiley, Julie A Marusich, Brian F Thomas
Originally developed as research tools for use in structure-activity relationship studies, synthetic cannabinoids contributed to significant scientific advances in the cannabinoid field. Unfortunately, a subset of these compounds was diverted for recreational use beginning in the early 2000s. As these compounds were banned, they were replaced with additional synthetic cannabinoids with increasingly diverse chemical structures. This chapter focuses on integration of recent results with those covered in previous reviews...
October 18, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Torbjörn U C Järbe, Jimit Girish Raghav
The phenomenon of consuming synthetic cannabinoids ("Spice") for recreational purposes is a fairly recent trend. However, consumption of cannabis dates back millennia, with numerous accounts written on the experience of its consumption, and thousands of scientific reports published on the effects of its constituents in laboratory animals and humans. Here, we focus on consolidating the scientific literature on the effects of "Spice" compounds in various behavioral assays, including assessing abuse liability, tolerance, dependence, withdrawal, and potential toxicity...
October 18, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Keith L Shelton
Inhalants are a loosely organized category of abused compounds defined entirely by their common route of administration. Inhalants include volatile solvents, fuels, volatile anesthetics, gasses, and liquefied refrigerants, among others. They are ubiquitous in modern society as ingredients in a wide variety of household, commercial, and medical products. Persons of all ages abuse inhalants but the highest prevalence of abuse is in younger adolescents. Although inhalants have been shown to act upon a host of neurotransmitter receptors, the stimulus effects of the few inhalants which have been trained or tested in drug discrimination procedures suggest that their discriminative stimulus properties are mediated by a few key neurotransmitter receptor systems...
October 7, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Jaak Panksepp
During the past half century of research with preclinical animal models, affective neuroscience has helped identify and illuminate the functional neuroanatomies and neurochemistries of seven primary process, i.e., genetically provided emotional systems of mammalian brains. All are subcortically localized, allowing animal models to guide the needed behavioral and neuroscientific analyses at levels of detail that cannot be achieved through human research, including modern brain imaging. They consist of the following neuronal processes: SEEKING/Enthusiasm, RAGE/Anger, FEAR/Anxiety, sexual LUST/Passion, maternal CARE/Nurturance, separation-distress PANIC/Grief and PLAY/Social Joy...
October 2, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
S Stevens Negus, Matthew L Banks
Many cathinone analogs act as substrates or inhibitors at dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin transporters (DAT, NET, SERT, respectively). Drug selectivity at DAT vs. SERT is a key determinant of abuse potential for monoamine transporter substrates and inhibitors, such that potency at DAT > SERT is associated with high abuse potential, whereas potency at DAT < SERT is associated with low abuse potential. Quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) studies with a series of 4-substituted methcathinone analogs identified volume of the 4-position substituent on the methcathinone phenyl ring as one structural determinant of both DAT vs...
October 1, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Anindya Bhattacharya, Wayne C Drevets
Mood disorders are associated with persistently high rates of morbidity and mortality, despite the widespread availability of antidepressant treatments. One limitation to extant therapeutic options has been that nearly all approved antidepressant pharmacotherapies exert a similar primary action of blocking monoamine transporters, and few options exist for transitioning treatment resistant patients to alternatives with distinct mechanisms. An emerging area of science that promises novel pathways to antidepressant and mood-stabilizing therapies has followed from evidence that immunological factors play major roles in the pathophysiology of at least some mood disorder subtypes...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Ernesto Solis
Products containing psychoactive synthetic cathinones, such as mephedrone and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) are prevalent in our society. Synthetic cathinones are structurally similar to methamphetamine, and numerous synthetics have biological activity at dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine transporters. Importantly, monoamine transporters co-transport sodium ions along with their substrate, and movement of substrates and ions through the transporter can generate measurable ionic currents. Here we review how electrophysiological information has enabled us to determine how synthetic cathinones affect transporter-mediated currents in cells that express these transporters...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Eugene A Kiyatkin, Suelynn E Ren
Psychomotor stimulants are frequently used by humans to intensify the subjective experience of different types of social interactions. Since psychomotor stimulants enhance metabolism and increase body temperatures, their use under conditions of physiological activation and in warm humid environments could result in pathological hyperthermia, a life-threatening symptom of acute drug intoxication. Here, we will describe the brain hyperthermic effects of MDMA, MDPV, and methylone, three structurally related recreational drugs commonly used by young adults during raves and other forms of social gatherings...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Charlotte D'Mello, Mark G Swain
A growing body of evidence now highlights a key role for inflammation in mediating sickness behaviors and depression. Systemic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic liver disease have high comorbidity with depression. How the periphery communicates with the brain to mediate changes in neurotransmission and thereby behavior is not completely understood. Traditional routes of communication between the periphery and the brain involve neural and humoral pathways with TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-6 being the three main cytokines that have primarily been implicated in mediating signaling via these pathways...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Raymond P Kesner
The structure and utilization of memory is central to one's knowledge of the past, interpretation of the present, and prediction of the future. Therefore, the understanding of the structural and process components of memory systems at the psychological and neurobiological level is of paramount importance. There have been a number of attempts to divide learning and memory into multiple memory systems. Schacter and Tulving, Memory systems 1994. MIT Press, Cambridge (1994) have suggested that one needs to define memory systems in terms of the kind of information to be represented, the processes associated with the operation of each system, and the neurobiological substrates, including neural structures and mechanisms, that subserve each system...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Howard Eichenbaum
Since the discovery of place cells and other findings indicating strong involvement of the hippocampus in spatial information processing, there has been continued controversy about the extent to which the hippocampus also processes non-spatial aspects of experience. In recent years, many experiments studying the effects of hippocampal damage and characterizing hippocampal neural activity in animals and humans have revealed a clear and specific role of the hippocampus in the processing of non-spatial information...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Adam J O Dede, Christine N Smith
It is well established that patients with memory impairment have more difficulty retrieving memories from the recent past relative to the remote past and that damage to the medial temporal lobe (MTL) plays a key role in this pattern of impairment. The precise role of the MTL and how it may interact with other brain regions remains an area of active research. We investigated the role of structures in a memory network that supports remembering. Our chapter focuses on two types of memory: episodic memory and semantic memory...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Derek Evan Nee, Mark D'Esposito
Working memory refers to a system involved in the online maintenance and manipulation of information in the absence of external input. Due to the importance of working memory in higher-level cognition, a wealth of neuroscience studies has investigated its neural basis. These studies have often led to conflicting viewpoints regarding the importance of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and posterior sensory cortices. Here, we review evidence for each position. We suggest that the relative contributions of the PFC and sensory cortices to working memory can be understood with respect to processing demands...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Barbara J Knowlton, Tara K Patterson
Data from experimental animals and human subjects has provided convergent evidence for the key role of the striatum in the formation of stimulus-response habits. Habits can be distinguished from associative memories that support goal-directed actions based on their insensitivity to reward devaluation and contingency degradation. Behavior on many instrumental learning tasks can be supported by both declarative knowledge and habits, and these contributions shift with the amount of training. This shift appears to be accompanied by the involvement of different cortico-striatal loops in controlling behavior...
September 28, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Garet P Lahvis
Natural selection favors individuals to act in their own interests, implying that wild animals experience a competitive psychology. Animals in the wild also express helping behaviors, presumably at their own expense and suggestive of a more compassionate psychology. This apparent paradox can be partially explained by ultimate mechanisms that include kin selection, reciprocity, and multilevel selection, yet some theorists argue such ultimate explanations may not be sufficient and that an additional "stake in others" is necessary for altruism's evolution...
September 7, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Tomohisa Mori, Tsutomu Suzuki
The subjective effects of drugs are related to the kinds of feelings they produce, such as euphoria or dysphoria. One of the methods that can be used to study these effects is the drug discrimination procedure. Many researchers have been trying to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie the discriminative stimulus properties of abused drugs (e.g., alcohol, psychostimulants, and opioids). Over the past two decades, patterns of drug abuse have changed, so that club/recreational drugs such as phencyclidine (PCP), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), ketamine, and cannabinoid, which induce perceptual distortions, like hallucinations, are now more commonly abused, especially in younger generations...
September 2, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Bertha K Madras
The term "new psychoactive substances" (NPS) can be defined as individual drugs in pure form or in complex preparations that are not scheduled under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) or the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971). NPS may be categorized by chemical structure, by psychoactive properties, by biological targets, or by source (plant, synthetic, or combined). The emergence of hundreds of NPS in the past decade is challenging for public health and drug policies globally. The novelty of NPS, their ambiguous legal status, ability to evade toxicological tests, swift adaptation to legal restrictions, global Internet marketing, and scant public knowledge of their adverse effects are among the key drivers of this twenty-first century phenomenon...
August 30, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
S Stevens Negus, Matthew L Banks
Discriminative stimulus and other drug effects are determined by the concentration of drug at its target receptor and by the pharmacodynamic consequences of drug-receptor interaction. For in vivo procedures such as drug discrimination, drug concentration at receptors in a given anatomical location (e.g., the brain) is determined both by the dose of drug administered and by pharmacokinetic processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion that deliver drug to and from that anatomical location...
August 30, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Lucas R Watterson, M Foster Olive
Since the mid- to late 2000s, there has been a dramatic rise in the use and abuse of synthetic derivatives of cathinone, a stimulant alkaloid found in the African shrub Catha edulis. Cathinone novel psychoactive substances (NPS), also referred to as synthetic cathinones or "bath salt"-type drugs, have gained popularity among drug users due to their potency, low cost, ease of procurement, and diverse array of evolving chemical structures. While the ability of cathinone NPS to produce psychotomimetic effects, multiple organ system toxicity, and death in humans is well documented, there has been limited scientific investigation into the reinforcing effects and abuse liability of these drugs...
July 19, 2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
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