Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 12, pp 1872–1879 | Cite as

Galanin – 25 years with a multitalented neuropeptide

Galanin and addiction
  • M. R. PicciottoEmail author
Multi-author Review


There has been increasing interest in the ability of neuropeptides involved in feeding to modulate circuits important for responses to drugs of abuse. A number of peptides with effects on hypothalamic function also modulate the mesolimbic dopamine system (ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens). Similarly, common stress-related pathways can modulate food intake, drug reward and symptoms of drug withdrawal. Galanin promotes food intake and the analgesic properties of opiates; thus it initially seemed possible that galanin might potentiate opiate reinforcement. Instead, galanin agonists decrease opiate reward, measured by conditioned place preference, and opiate withdrawal signs, whereas opiate reward and withdrawal are increased in knock-out mice lacking galanin. This is consistent with studies showing that galanin decreases activity-evoked dopamine release in striatal slices and decreases the firing rate of noradrenergic neurons in locus coeruleus, areas involved in drug reward and withdrawal, respectively. These data suggest that polymorphisms in genes encoding galanin or galanin receptors might be associated with susceptibility to opiate abuse. Further, galanin receptors might be potential targets for development of novel treatments for addiction. (Part of a Multi-author Review)


Reinforcement drug abuse morphine dopamine withdrawal norepinephrine 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Birkhaueser 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

Personalised recommendations