Corticostriatal microRNAs in addiction

Brain Res. 2015 Dec 2;1628(Pt A):2-16. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2015.07.047. Epub 2015 Aug 4.


Addiction is a chronically relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug use in spite of adverse consequences. Currently, there are very few effective treatments for addiction; in order to develop novel therapies, a clearer understanding of mechanisms underlying addiction is needed. Drugs of abuse induce lasting adaptations in corticostriatal and mesolimbic brain reward circuitry due to long-term alterations in gene expression. microRNAs, a class of non-coding RNAs, are powerful regulators of gene expression that bind to target mRNAs, thereby inhibiting their translation and/or causing degradation. miRNAs are increasingly implicated in gene expression changes underlying normal neuronal function as well as dysfunctions such as addiction and psychiatric disorders. This review summarizes plasticity- and drug-related miRNA expression patterns and functions in the context of corticostriatal circuitry, while proposing future directions that may reveal miRNA-mediated mechanisms regulating addiction-related behaviors in vivo.

Keywords: Addiction; MicroRNA; Plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Substance-Related Disorders / metabolism*


  • MicroRNAs