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Mesolimbic dopamine pathway

Similar term(s): mesolimbic dopaminergic system, mesolimbic dopamine pathway.

Definition:

Brain circuit that is activated by rewarding stimuli, e.g., food, sex and by addictive psychoactive drugs, such as cocaine , amphetamines , and alcohol . The intense feeling from activation of the reward or pleasure experienced previously leads to a desire for, or repetition of, the behaviour.

In chronic substance users this can lead to chronic and intense cravings which may be activated by anticipatory dopamine release in response to cues (e.g. drug use implements).

The mesolimbic dopamine pathway comprises the ventral tegmental area (VTA), nucleus accumbens (Nac) and the prefrontal cortex.

Source: GreenFacts, based on Alcohol & Other Drugs A to Z Drug Glossary  

Related words:

Dopamine

To read about this term in context:

GreenFacts Summary on Psychoactive Drugs Tobacco, Alcohol, and Illicit Substances:

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