MNS/FENS 2014 satellite meeting

The Mediterranean Neuroscience Society has organized a Satellite Meeting entitled:

Drug addiction and psychiatric comorbidity: factors of vulnerability and therapeutic targets”

Substance abuse disorder frequently co-occurs with other psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, depression and other mood disorders. This comorbidity is also called dual diagnosis.

Professionals working with comorbid patients face unique and challenging dilemmas about how to provide the best treatment to address both conditions.
Although pharmacological and psychosocial treatments for drug abuse disorders and psychiatric disorders can be integrated to help these patients, relatively few clinical studies have tested these types of treatments. Likewise, well established treatments for psychiatric disorders have, for the most part, not been evaluated in patients with co–occurring drug abuse disorders. As mental health and substance abuse facilities expand their services for patients with dual disorders, further research is needed to guide the treatment of this patient population.

Several hypotheses have been raised to account for dual disorders. Two possibilities that will be explored during this symposium are 1) that substance abuse and psychiatric disorders result from the dysfunction of common, or interacting, neurobiological mechanisms and 2) that the consumption of drugs of abuse induce the psychiatric pathology. The symposium is dedicated to analyse relationships between psychiatric disorders and addiction and to present possible underlying mechanisms as well as pharmacological targets.

Drug addiction is associated with several cognitive deficits such as behavioral inflexibility that may contribute to the development and maintenance of addictive behavior by reducing addicts’ ability to control their behavior toward the drug. In the first talk, Dr. Solinas will show their investigation about the relationships between pre-drug levels of behavioral flexibility and the risk to develop uncontrolled methamphetamine self-administration.

Dr Maldonado will then present molecular studies that identify hypocretin receptor-1 and PKC signaling as potential targets for the treatment of relapse to nicotine-seeking induced by nicotine-associated cues. The two next talks will be dedicated to alcohol addiction and its relationship with stress. Alcohol consumption, especially among adolescents is a serious public health problem.

Dr Viveros will present data regarding long-term behavioral, neurochemical, epigenetic and glial alterations induced by adolescent alcohol exposure, as evaluated by an experimental protocol which appears to mimic the most common pattern of alcohol consumption among young people. Further, she will show how early life stress in form of neonatal maternal deprivation modulates stress- induced alcohol consumption later in life.

Current pharmacotherapies for alcoholism are not fully efficacious and research is required to better understand the underlying pathophysiology and identify new treatments. Stress is a key cofactor in relapse, and relaxin-3 signalling is implicated in regulation of stress responses.

Within this framework, Dr H. Kastman will explain how pharmacological antagonism of central relaxin-3 receptors (RXFP3) in the bed nucleus of stria terminalis, a stress-related brain area, decreased self-administration of alcohol and reduced stress-induced reinstatement of alcohol-seeking. There is now strong evidence from human epidemiological and animal studies showing that adolescent cannabinoid exposure can lead to cognitive deficit and neuropsychiatric diseases including schizophrenia.

Within the context of dual diagnosis, Dr Rady’s talk will propose some integrative strategies aiming at bridging the gap between psychology and neuroscience on one side and basic and clinical neuroscience on the other side.

Dr Fountoulakis will propose a detailed review on the agents used to treat depression in bipolar disorder. He will present a meta-analysis to assess the efficacy and the pharmacodynamics properties of monoaminergic, cathecholaminergic and cholinergic compounds.

The talk by Dr Rubino will focus on molecular mechanisms by which THC, the main psychoactive component of Cannabis Sativa may produce its long lasting adverse effects. Their results show that vulnerability of adolescent animals to long-lasting THC adverse effects might partly reside in the disruption of the pivotal role played by the endocannabinoid system in the adolescent prefrontal cortex maturation. The last talk refer to potential therapeutic value of cannabionid related compounds in specific situations.

Dr Guimaraes will discuss a series of interesting results showing that chronic administration of this drug increased hippocampal neurogenesis and prevented microglia activation induced by repeated treatment with a NMDA receptor antagonist (considered as an experimental model to induce psychotic-like symptoms). These two mechanisms could help to explain the antipsychotic-like effects of CBD.

Venue : DiSTA and Neuroscience Center at Tecnocity, University of Insubria, Busto Arsizio, VA, Italy (Acknowledgements to Daniela Parolaro and Tiziana Rubino)

Organizer: Mediterranean Neuroscience Society

Chair: Maria-Paz Viveros (Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain) & Marc Landry (Bordeaux University, Bordeaux, France)