The role of the dopamine transporter in cocaine abuse

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20 Scopus citations


There have been many studies aimed at understanding the role that the dopamine transporter plays in cocaine abuse. Most studies suggest that inhibition of dopamine uptake by cocaine is the primary mechanism by which its behavioral effects are produced. Because of the strong relationship between binding to the dopamine transporter and the behavioral effects of cocaine, the dopamine transporter has on occasion been referred to as the cocaine binding site. Chronic studies using cocaine or selective inhibitors of dopamine, norepinephrine, or serotonin uptake suggest that while a selective dopamine uptake inhibitor can produce sensitization to cocaine, the long-lasting sensitized response to a cocaine challenge observed in cocaine-pretreated rats is due to cocaine's action on a system other than, or in addition to, dopamine. Thus, while dopamine appears to be important for the behavioral effects of cocaine, it appears that neurochemical systems other than dopamine likely play a role in the behavioral effects of chronic cocaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-383
Number of pages5
JournalNeurotoxicity Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2004


  • Behavioral sensitization
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Locomotor activity
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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