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Effects of cocaine on dopamine receptor gene expression: A study in the postmortem human brain

  • James H. Meador-Woodruff
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Dr. James H. Meador-Woodruff, Mental Health Research Institute, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, 205 Zina Pitcher Place, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0720.
    Footnotes
    Affiliations
    From the Mental Health Research Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
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  • Karley Y. Little
    Footnotes
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • Scott P. Damask
    Footnotes
    Affiliations
    From the Mental Health Research Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
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  • Alfred Mansour
    Footnotes
    Affiliations
    From the Mental Health Research Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
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  • Stanley J. Watson
    Footnotes
    Affiliations
    From the Mental Health Research Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
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  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ The authors wish to thank Carolyn Work, Rebekah Kuehn, and Jennifer Saul for their enthusiastic technical contributions to this work. The assistance of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina (John D. Butts, M.D., Chief) is gratefully acknowledged.
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      Abstract

      The effects of chronic cocaine exposure on dopamine D1 and D2 receptor gene expression in the human brain were studied in postmortem samples from chronic cocaine abusing and matched control subjects. Using in situ hybridization and receptor autoradiography to examine messenger ribonucleic acid (RNA) and binding sites, respectively, neither D1 nor D2 receptor expression was found to be changed in the nucleus accumbens, caudate, putamen, or substantia nigra of the cocaine-exposed subjects. Although chronic cocaine exposure can produce alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission, sustained compensatory changes in dopamine receptor expression do not appear to occur in the human.

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