Psychosocial and cocaine craving-induced stress transcriptomics analysis

The effect of psychosocial and craving-induced stress on transcriptomics in cocaine users: a longitudinal approach

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Prof. Dr. Edna Grünblatt
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychiatric Hospital
University of Zürich


Prof. Boris Quednow; Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich (PUK),


2019-2021 on going


It is assumed that an increased susceptibility to stress plays an important role in the development, preservation, and relapse of cocaine addiction. However, previous research applying laboratory stress paradigms to cocaine users exclusively investigated hormonal responses but so far neglected potential changes in the expression of stress-related genes. It is furthermore unclear how alterations of the stress axis and stress-related genes change over time and if these changes are e.g., reversible after prolonged abstinence. We therefore investigate the effects of psychosocial stress (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST) and drug craving-related stress on peripheral expression of stress-related genes (levels of mRNA in blood) in regular cocaine users and matched healthy controls at baseline and at a 4-months follow-up. We expect to find broad changes in the expression of stress-related genes in cocaine users, which are malleable over time depending on changes of cocaine consumption.