Sussex Neuroscience

Professor Aldo Badiani

Aldo BadianiMechanisms of addiction and addictive behaviour.

Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that the environment can exert a substance-specific influence on drug taking.  Both human addicts and rats prefer in fact taking heroin and cocaine in distinct settings.  Rats that are trained to self-administer both heroin and cocaine intravenously, for example, exhibit a preference for heroin when they are at rest in their home cage but switch to cocaine when they are placed in a novel test environment.  The neurobiological underpinning of this phenomenon is unknown.  However, in situ hybridization studies for the immediate early gene c-fos mRNA have shown that the pattern of neuronal activity induced by acute, non contingent administrations of amphetamine, cocaine, and heroin differ dramatically as a function of the context.  Ph.D. students will participate in studies aimed at investigating (using patch-clamp electrophysiology and immunohistochemistry) whether the context of drug self-administration can produce differential drug-induced synaptic plasticity in phenotypically characterized neurons of the striatal complex, prefrontal cortex, and amygdala.  Students will receive training in behavioural pharmacology (intravenous self-administration in the rat), electrophysiology, and molecular biology techniques.

Selected publications:

Badiani A (2013) Substance-specific environmental influences on drug use and drug preference in animals and humans. Curr Opin Neurobiol 23:588-596.

Badiani A, Spagnolo PA (2013) Role of environmental factors in cocaine addiction. Curr Pharm Des 19:6996-7008.

Badiani A, Belin D, Epstein D, Calu D, Shaham Y (2011) Opiate versus psychostimulant addiction: the differences do matter. Nat Rev Neurosci 12:685-700.

Celentano M, Caprioli D, Di Pasquale P, Cardillo V, Nencini P, Gaetani S, Badiani A (2009) Drug context differently regulates cocaine versus heroin self-administration and cocaine- versus heroin-induced Fos mRNA expression in the rat. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 204:349-360.

Caprioli D, Celentano M, Dubla A, Lucantonio F, Nencini P, Badiani A (2009) Ambience and drug choice: cocaine- and heroin-taking as a function of environmental context in humans and rats. Biol Psychiatry 65:893-899.