Increasing dopamine D(2/3) receptor availability is postulated to be a treatment for drug addiction. Varenicline, an alpha4beta2-nicotinic partial agonist, is effective for nicotine dependence. We hypothesize that varenicline increases dopamine D(2/3) receptor availability. Twenty male drug-naïve rats were randomized to varenicline (2 mg/kg) or placebo for 14 days, and then injected with the dopamine D(2/3) radiotracer 123I-IBZM. We found significantly higher striatum-to-cerebellum binding ratios in both dorsal and ventral striatum for the varenicline group compared with placebo. Varenicline increases dopamine D(2/3) receptor availability in drug-naïve rats. Therefore, varenicline may be an effective treatment for addictions other than smoking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-502
Number of pages3
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

ID: 49996873