Neurochemistry and Molecular Neurobiology of Reward

  • J. B. Becker
  • R. L. Meisel
Reference work entry


The reward system consists of multiple interactive neural systems. This chapter provides an overview of the neurotransmitters and brain regions involved with reward. The neural systems important for reward include brain areas involved in learning that a stimulus is rewarding or associated with reward and separate neural systems that mediate “wanting” and “liking” for a stimulus. The ascending dopamine systems are thought to be necessary for “wanting,” whereas “liking” is mediated by GABAergic and opioid neurons in the nucleus accumbens shell in association with the ventral pallidum and parabrachial nucleus. The specific systems and molecular mechanisms mediating food reward versus the rewarding aspects of drugs of abuse are discussed. Sex differences in the reward system are highlighted.



This research was supported by grants from the USPHS to JBB (DA12677 & NS48141) and to RLM (DA 13680).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. B. Becker
  • R. L. Meisel

There are no affiliations available

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