Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


30th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2004

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #136
CE Offered: None

Social Stress Experiences, Neuroadaptations and Cocaine Binges

Sunday, May 30, 2004
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Beacon E
Area: BPH; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Amy Odum, Ph.D.
Chair: Amy Odum (Utah State University)
KLAUS MICZEK (Tufts University)
Dr. Klaus A. Miczek directs a psychopharmacology laboratory at Tufts University, where he serves as Moses Hunt Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Neuroscience. He was originally educated in Berlin, Germany, and received a PhD in biopsychology from the University of Chicago. He has published some 160 research journal articles, 40 reviews and edited 12 volumes on psychopharmacological research concerning brain mechanisms of aggression, anxiety, social stress and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. He serves on research review committees for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Mental Health, and the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, among others. He has been the Coordinating Editor for behavioral pharmacology in laboratory animals at Psychopharmacology since 1992, and serves on the editorial board of half a dozen other journals. He has been president of the Division of Psychopharmacology and the Behavioral Pharmacology Society. He received an award from the American Psychological Association for “Outstanding Basic Psychopharmacological Research on Affective Disorders” and has been the recipient of a MERIT award from the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. He has lectured at numerous universities in the US and other countries and has received a number of international honors and awards.

Salient social experiences trigger immediate early gene expression or suppression that are large, long lasting, and critical to the fundamental processes of neuroadaptation. These biologically significant stressors activate cells in the endogenous aminergic and peptidergic systems leading to sensitization as well as tolerance. We examine the hypothesis that this cascade of cellular events is the basis for neural dysregulation leading to out-of-control drug taking. Social stress engenders profound analgesia. The pharmacological tolerance to stress-induced analgesia appears to be based on a pattern of genes expressing specific opioid peptides and their receptors. Social stress also induces sensitization as expressed by an augmented response to psychomotor stimulants, and by inhibited zif268 expression in prefrontal cortical cells and increased zif268 expression in amygdaloid cells. One consequence of stress-induced sensitization is dysregulated cocaine binges. The delayed large increases in alcohol consumption in mice mutants lacking the CRH1 receptor gene highlight the enduring impact of salient experiences in gene expression and in heightened alcohol drinking. Our ongoing work on the neural circuits for social stress and intensely rewarding activities such as compulsive cocaine administration points to considerable overlap between them, and identifies targets for pharmacotherapeutic intervention in stress disorders and drug abuse.




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