Several studies have attempted to clarify molecular pathways leading to drug addiction. Increased reactive
oxygen species production in the central nervous system has been recently proposed to play a pivotal role in the neuropathology
induced by drug abuse. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on the involvement of oxidative stress in
the development of neural dysfunctions induced by prolonged exposure to specific drugs of abuse: N-methyl-D-aspartate
receptor antagonists (ketamine, phencyclidine and dizocilpine maleate), cocaine, heroin, marijuana, gammahydroxybutyrate,
amphetamine and methamphetamine. Understanding the role of increased oxidative damage in the
central nervous system following abuse of these compounds may provide original molecular perspectives leading to
innovative therapeutic strategies.
Keywords: Amphetamine, central nervous system, cocaine, GHB, heroin, marijuana, NMDA-antagonists, oxidative stress.
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