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1- Departments of Physiology, School of Medicine, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran.
2- TJ Long School of Pharmacy, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, USA.
3- Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
A growing number of evidence indicates that adolescent substance abuse is now an alarming concern, which imposes a considerable socio-economic burden on societies. On the other hand, numerous studies have shown that due to specific neurophysiological features, the brain is more vulnerable to the adverse effects of psychoactive drugs at early ages. Unfortunately, these negative effects are not limited to the period of drug use, but, they could persistently affect the brain’s responsiveness to future exposures to the same or other types of drug. In order for researchers to develop pharmacological strategies for managing substance abuse disorders, it is important for them to gain a deep understanding of the differences in behavioral outcomes associated with each type of drug across different age groups. In the present study, we aimed to review the experimental evidence revealing the mentioned differential effects with an emphasis on common drugs of abuse, including cocaine, nicotine, cannabis and opioids. Although, the cellular mechanisms underlying age-related effects have not been exclusively addressed for each drug, the most recent findings are presented and discussed. Future studies are required to focus on these mechanisms and reveal how molecular changes during brain development could result in differential responses to drugs at the behavioral level.
Type of Study: Review | Subject: Behavioral Neuroscience
Received: 2023/07/25 | Accepted: 2023/08/9

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