Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd
Author: Mark Henderson, Science Correspondent


COCAINE addicts may benefit from research in Switzerland which found that a 
mutant strain of mice was unaffected by the drug.

The researchers have shown that the mutant mice, which lack a particular 
type of receptor in their brains, always fail a standard test of ability to 
become addicted to cocaine. Normal mice given a drug that interferes with 
the receptor's function showed a lower response to cocaine than usual.

The findings, by a team at GlaxoSmithKline's laboratory in Lausanne, 
suggest that it may be possible to develop a drug that targets the 
receptor, known as mGluR5, and lessens or blocks the effect that a user 
gets from cocaine. That could be a potential therapy for cocaine addicts, 
researchers said. Details of the study are published today in the journal 
Nature Neuroscience.

"These findings suggest that mGluR5 is critical to the behavioural effects 
and rewarding properties of cocaine, and suggest that this receptor system 
may be a promising target for addiction research," the scientists concluded.
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