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ID 2375

Drug Addiction and Bonding

Description:
Doctor Larry Young discusses his research with prairie voles and suggests that the same neurobiological processes may underlie drug addiction and bonding.
Transcript:
Using the prairie voles we’ve been trying to understand what neurochemicals, what brain mechanisms are involved in bonding and what we’ve found is that there are two peptides, oxytocin and vasopressin, that seem to be important to the bonding process. We believe that oxytocin is released in the female prairie vole when she mates with a partner or vasopressin is released in the male when he mates with a partner, and the release of these hormones in the brain activates certain brain areas that then stimulate the formation of the bond. We believe that these hormones are probably also released not just during sexual activity, but just grooming, social interaction and they somehow activate the brain’s reward reinforcement centers, the pleasure centers. Really, the same parts of the brain that are involved in addiction and so maybe forming a strong bond with a partner has the same underlying biology as becoming addicted to a drug.
Keywords:
bonding, bond, relationship, drug, addiction, prairie voles, reward, social interaction, vasopressin, oxytocin, peptides, hormones, addiction, biology, larry, young
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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