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Estrogens and MemoryBasic Research and Clinical Implications$
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Karyn M. Frick

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190645908

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190645908.001.0001

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Role of Estrogens in Addiction-Related Learning

Role of Estrogens in Addiction-Related Learning

(p.456) 26 Role of Estrogens in Addiction-Related Learning
Estrogens and Memory

Hanna Yousuf

Oxford University Press

Females exhibit more vulnerability to cocaine abuse compared to males. Sexually dimorphic patterns of cocaine seeking have been observed in both humans and rodents during the different stages of the addiction cycle. While cocaine pharmacokinetics play a minimal role in driving sex differences in addictive behaviors, hormonal influences may be responsible for the reinforcing properties of cocaine in females. In particular, 17β‎-estradiol (E2), enhances performance in a variety of learning paradigms and may act to enhance the formation of drug-related learning. Paradoxically, preclinical work demonstrates that the memory-enhancing effects of E2 may also aid to suppress cocaine seeking via extinction training. In addition to discussing how E2 mediates cocaine use in females, this chapter provides neurobiological mechanisms underlying E2’s influence on cocaine addiction. Finally, this chapter discusses potential strategies for novel therapeutic interventions for female cocaine addicts.

Keywords:   estradiol, addiction, cocaine, acquisition, extinction, reinstatement, sex differences, dopamine, medial prefrontal cortex, hippocampus

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