Role of corticostriatal circuits in context-induced reinstatement of drug seeking

Nathan J. Marchant, Konstantin Kaganovsky, Yavin Shaham, Jennifer M. Bossert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Drug addiction is characterized by persistent relapse vulnerability during abstinence. In abstinent drug users, relapse is often precipitated by re-exposure to environmental contexts that were previously associated with drug use. This clinical scenario is modeled in preclinical studies using the context-induced reinstatement procedure, which is based on the ABA renewal procedure. In these studies, context-induced reinstatement of drug seeking is reliably observed in laboratory animals that were trained to self-administer drugs abused by humans. In this review, we summarize neurobiological findings from preclinical studies that have focused on the role of corticostriatal circuits in context-induced reinstatement of heroin, cocaine, and alcohol seeking. We also discuss neurobiological similarities and differences in the corticostriatal mechanisms of context-induced reinstatement across these drug classes. We conclude by briefly discussing future directions in the study of context-induced relapse to drug seeking in rat models. Our main conclusion from the studies reviewed is that there are both similarities (accumbens shell, ventral hippocampus, and basolateral amygdala) and differences (medial prefrontal cortex and its projections to accumbens) in the neural mechanisms of context-induced reinstatement of cocaine, heroin, and alcohol seeking. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI:Addiction circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-232
Number of pages14
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2015


  • Abstinence
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Context
  • Craving
  • Cue
  • Drug self-administration
  • Extinction
  • Heroin
  • Punishment
  • Reinstatement
  • Relapse
  • Review

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