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ddictive drugs compete with natural reinforces for neural plasticity mechanisms, reducing progressively the ability of those to
maintain adapted behavior. Drug-induced neural plasticity mechanisms in prefronto-limbic-striatal circuitry have been proposed
as responsible for the instauration and maintenance of addictive behavior. We propose that drug-induced plasticity in prefronto-
cerebellar circuitry will be a central stage of behavioral modifications leading to addictive behavior. The reasoning that supports the
current proposal is based on the follow premises and results: 1) the cerebellum is crucial for consolidation and long-term storage
of pavlovian and instrumental memory; 2) the cerebellum connects with fronto-limbic-striatal circuitry; 3) addictive drugs alter
cerebellar plasticity mechanisms; 4) we observed that a short experience with cocaine produced a robust c-Fos expression in the
mouse medial prefrontal cortex. However, after prolonging cocaine experience, the cerebellum showed higher c-Fos expression than
the prefrontal cortex. It is also important to study how environmental factors can protect the brain against drug effects. Recently, we
focus on the possibility of extending cerebellar proliferative activity beyond the postnatal period by exposing mice to environmental
enrichment. Our findings showed that an enriched environment increases the presence of newly generated neurons at the granular
layer of the cerebellar cortex. Moreover, environmental enrichment maintained neurogenic activity in the cerebellum of those animals
chronically treated with alcohol and cocaine. These results supports ways in which the cerebellum may be challenged and stimulated,
making it possible to develop environmental therapeutic strategies to ameliorate the consequences of drug abuse.
Marta Miquel has completed her Ph.D at the age of 29 years from University of Valencia and postdoctoral studies from the Department of
Pharmacology, University of Toronto and C.I.F.A (Faculty of Medicine), University of Navarra. Spain. Currently, she is tenure awarded professor in
Psychobiology in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Jaume I University, (Spain) and invited research professor in the Brain Research Center, University
of Veracruz (Mexico). She is the head of the research team Addiction and Neuroplasticity and has been the Ph.D advisor in 5 doctoral theses. She
has published 40 papers in peer-reviewed international journals, and 7 books and chapters.
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