December 10, 2009
Understanding Morphine Addiction
Scientists are adding additional brush strokes to the revolutionary new image now emerging for star-shaped cells called astrocytes in the brain and spinal cord. Their report, which suggests a key role for astrocytes in morphine's ability to relieve pain and cause addiction, appears online in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication.
In the study, Piotr Suder and colleagues point out that nearly everyone viewed astrocytes "” the most abundant cells in the brain "” as supporting actors in the drama of brain activity. Scientists thought astrocytes simply propped up neurons, nerve cells that transmit signals, and kept them in proper position. Studies during the last several years, however, suggest that these cells are just as their Greek name suggests "” stars.
Image Caption: Scientists are reporting new clues to understanding morphine addiction. Credit: US Drug Enforcement Administration
On the Net:
- American Chemical Society
- Article: The Proteomic Analysis of Primary Cortical Astrocyte Cell Culture after Morphine Administration