Volatile Solvents as Drugs of Abuse: Focus on the Cortico-Mesolimbic Circuitry

16 de novembro de 20133min1

Jacob T Beckley1,2 and John J Woodward*,1,2
 1Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA; 2Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, Department

Neuropsychopharmacology (2013) 38, 2555–2567
& 2013 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. All rights reserved 0893-133X/13


of Psychiatry/Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA 

Volatile solvents such as those found in fuels, paints, and thinners are found throughout the world and are used in a variety of industrial applications. However, these compounds are also often intentionally inhaled at high concentrations to produce intoxication. While solvent use has been recognized as a potential drug problem for many years, research on the sites and mechanisms of action of these compounds lags behind that of other drugs of abuse. In this review, we first discuss the epidemiology of voluntary solvent use throughout the world and then consider what is known about their basic pharmacology and how this may explain their use as drugs of abuse. We next present data from preclinical and clinical studies indicating that these substances induce common addiction sequelae such as dependence, withdrawal, and cognitive impairments. We describe how toluene, the most commonly studied psychoactive volatile solvent, alters synaptic transmission in key brain circuits such as the mesolimbic dopamine system and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) that are thought to underlie addiction pathology. Finally, we make the case that activity in mPFC circuits is a critical regulator of the mesolimbic dopamine system’s ability to respond to volatile solvents like toluene. Overall, this review provides evidence that volatile solvents have high abuse liability because of their selective effects on critical nodes of the addiction neurocircuitry, and  underscores the need for more research into how these compounds induce adaptations in neural circuits that underlie addiction pathology. Neuropsychopharmacology (2013) 38, 2555–2567; doi:10.1038/npp.2013.206; published online 11 September 2013 

Keywords: abused inhalants; toluene; prefrontal cortex; glutamate; dopamine 

acesse: npp2013206a.pdf

Sobre a UNIAD

A Unidade de Pesquisa em álcool e Drogas (UNIAD) foi fundada em 1994 pelo Prof. Dr. Ronaldo Laranjeira e John Dunn, recém-chegados da Inglaterra. A criação contou, na época, com o apoio do Departamento de Psiquiatria da UNIFESP. Inicialmente (1994-1996) funcionou dentro do Complexo Hospital São Paulo, com o objetivo de atender funcionários dependentes.


    Skip to content