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Deletion of Addiction Gene Keeps Mice off Cocaine

06:27 EDT 13 Jul 2018 | Genetic Engineering News

European researchers have discovered how a gene that has previously been implicated in cancer plays a key role in certain regions of the brain in the control of cocaine addiction in mice. Studies headed by a team at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium showed that animals lacking the melanoma antigen gene (Mage) known as Maged1 were unresponsive to cocaine, and didn’t develop the characteristic behaviors and signs of addiction, such as locomotor sensitization, drug seeking, and drug self-administration, which are evident in control animals after repeated drug administration. Studies in which the Maged1 gene was deleted in specific regions of the brain indicated that the development of cocaine sensitization required Maged1 expression in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala regions of the brain specifically.   “This work identifies Maged1 as a critical molecule in cellular processes and behaviors related to addiction,” write lead scientist Alban de ...

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