Drug addiction is characterized by persistent behavioral and cellular plasticity throughout the brain's reward regions. Among the many neuroadaptations that occur following repeated drug administration are alterations in cell morphology including changes in dendritic spines. While this phenomenon has been well documented, the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, within the context of drug abuse, we review and integrate several of the established pathways known to regulate synaptic remodeling, and discuss the contributions of neurotrophic and dopamine signaling in mediating this structural plasticity. Finally, we discuss how such upstream mechanisms could regulate actin dynamics, the common endpoint involved in structural remodeling in neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S69-78
Volume42 Suppl 1
StatePublished - May 2009


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