Unmanageable motivation in addiction: a pathology in prefrontal-accumbens glutamate transmission

Neuron. 2005 Mar 3;45(5):647-50. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.02.005.


Prime diagnostic criteria for drug addiction include uncontrollable urges to obtain drugs and reduced behavioral responding for natural rewards. Cellular adaptations in the glutamate projection from the prefrontal cortex (PFC) to the nucleus accumbens have been discovered in rats withdrawn from cocaine that may underlie these cardinal features of addiction. A hypothesis is articulated that altered G protein signaling in the PFC focuses behavior on drug-associated stimuli, while dysregulated PFC-accumbens synaptic glutamate transmission underlies the unmanageable motivation to seek drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive / metabolism*
  • Behavior, Addictive / pathology*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motivation*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / pathology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology*


  • Glutamic Acid