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Yale Study: Lower Prefrontal Cortical Synaptic Vesicle Binding in Cocaine Use Disorder

December 12, 2021

Yale researchers, led by Gustavo A. Angarita, MD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry, have published a paper in Addiction Biology that explores whether synaptic density in the brain is altered in cocaine use disorder.

"We believe that our findings of altered synaptic density are exciting and provide intriguing suggestive translational support for a compelling preclinical hypothesis of cocaine addiction," Angarita wrote. "We are currently undergoing replication efforts and direct testing of relationships between changes in synaptic density and core neurocognitive and clinical features of the disorder. If confirmed, our findings would spur the development of potentially novel treatment approaches, including strategies based on synaptotrophic mechanisms."

Angarita said the manuscript and National Institutes of Health-funded replication efforts would not have been possible without the mentoring, support, and generosity of the late Robert T. Malison, who died unexpectedly July 25, 2020, at age 60. Malison was recognized as a pioneer in addiction research and a pillar of neuroscience education.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on December 13, 2021