Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology

Living Edition
| Editors: Ian P. Stolerman, Lawrence H. Price

Sensitization to Drugs

  • Terry E. RobinsonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27772-6_51-2

Synonyms

Behavioral augmentation; Behavioral facilitation; Behavioral sensitization; Reverse tolerance

Definition

The word “sensitization” is used to refer to a number of different but related effects. For example, in immunology, sensitization refers to the hypersensitivity to an antigen (often an allergen) that can develop upon repeated exposure to the antigen. In the study of learning, sensitization refers to a form of nonassociative learning whereby exposure to a stimulus (an unconditional stimulus, US) increases subsequent responsiveness to the same or other stimuli, even though they were not explicitly paired. Similarly, in pharmacology, the word sensitization has come to refer to an increase in a drug effect upon successive exposures to a drug or hypersensitivity to a drug in animals that were exposed to the drug in the past (Fig. 1). For example, one unconditional effect of drugs such as amphetamine or cocaine is to produce psychomotor activation, often measured as an increase...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Anagnostaras S, Robinson TE (1996) Sensitization to the psychomotor stimulant effects of amphetamine: modulation by associative learning. Behav Neurosci 110:1397–1414PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Badiani A, Robinson TE (2009) Drug addiction: behavioral pharmacology of drug addiction in rats. In: Squire LR (ed) Encyclopedia of neuroscience, vol 3. Academic Press, Oxford, pp 683–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Featherstone RE, Kapur S, Fletcher PJ (2007) The amphetamine-sensitized state as a model of schizophrenia. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 31:1556–1571PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Flagel SB, Robinson TE (2007) Quantifying the psychomotor activating effects of cocaine in the rat. Behav Pharmacol 18:297–302PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kalivas PW, Barnes CD (eds) (1988) Sensitization in the nervous system. The Telford Press, CaldwellGoogle Scholar
  6. Leyton M (2007) Conditioned and sensitized responses to stimulant drugs in humans. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 31:1601–1613PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Robinson TE, Becker JB (1986) Enduring changes in brain and behavior produced by chronic amphetamine administration: a review and evaluation of animal models of amphetamine psychosis. Brain Res Rev 11:157–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Robinson TE, Berridge RC (2008) The incentive-sensitization theory of addiction: some current issues. Phil Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 363:3137–3146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Stewart J, Badiani A (1993) Tolerance and sensitization to the behavioral effects of drugs. Behav Pharmacol 4:289–312PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Thomas MJ, Kalivas PW, Shaham Y (2008) Neuroplasticity in the mesolimbic dopamine system and cocaine addiction. Br J Pharmacol 154:327–342PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Vezina P, Leyton M (2009) Conditioned cues and the expression of stimulant sensitization in animals and humans. Neuropharmacology 56(suppl 1):160–168PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA