A team of neuroscientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has identified changes in the activity of brain cells known as pyramidal neurons, which contribute to drug seeking in a preclinical model of opioid use disorder. After access to heroin was stopped, these neurons became more excitable. The activity of these neurons was restored to normal by blocking the enzyme protein kinase A (PKA). Inhibiting this enzyme also reduced opioid-seeking behavior. Jacqueline McGinty, PhD, professor of neuroscience, and Saurabh Kokane, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in McGinty’s laboratory, recently published their team’s findings in the Journal of Neuroscience.
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