Beta-endorphin and drug-induced reward and reinforcement

Progress in Neurobiology
I Roth-DeriGal Yadid

Abstract

Although drugs of abuse have different acute mechanisms of action, their brain pathways of reward exhibit common functional effects upon both acute and chronic administration. Long known for its analgesic effect, the opioid beta-endorphin is now shown to induce euphoria, and to have rewarding and reinforcing properties. In this review, we will summarize the present neurobiological and behavioral evidences that support involvement of beta-endorphin in drug-induced reward and reinforcement. Currently, evidence supports a prominent role for beta-endorphin in the reward pathways of cocaine and alcohol. The existing information indicating the importance of beta-endorphin neurotransmission in mediating the reward pathways of nicotine and THC, is thus far circumstantial. The studies described herein employed diverse techniques, such as biochemical measurements of beta-endorphin in various brain sites and plasma, and behavioral measurements, conducted following elimination (via administration of anti-beta-endorphin antibodies or using mutant mice) or augmentation (by intracerebral administration) of beta-endorphin. We suggest that the reward pathways for different addictive drugs converge to a common pathway in which beta-endorphin is ...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Behavior, Animal
Beta-Endorphin
Conditioning (Psychology)
Euphoric Mood
Psychological Reinforcement
Substance-Related Disorders
Brain
Cocaine
Drug Abuse
Learning

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