Many psychostimulants, including cocaine and methamphetamine, interact with sigma (σ) receptors at physiologically relevant concentrations. The potential therapeutic relevance of this interaction is underscored by the ability to selectively target σ receptors to mitigate many behavioral and physiological effects of psychostimulants in animal and cell-based model systems. This chapter begins with an overview of these enigmatic proteins. Provocative preclinical data showing that σ ligands modulate an array of cocaine and methamphetamine effects are summarized, along with emerging areas of research. Together, the literature suggests targeting of σ receptors as an innovative option for combating undesired actions of psychostimulants through both neuronal and glial mechanisms.
Keywords: Addiction; Cocaine; Glia; Methamphetamine; Neurotoxicity; Sigma receptor.
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