Invertebrate models in addiction research

Eirik Søvik, Andrew B. Barron

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    While drug addiction is a uniquely human problem, most research examining the biological mechanisms of the transition from substance use to addiction is conducted with vertebrate animal models. Many other fields of neuroscience have greatly benefitted from contributions from simple and manipulable invertebrate model systems. However, the potential of invertebrate research has yet to be fully capitalised on in the field of addiction neuroscience. This may be because of the complexity of addiction and the clinical imperative of addiction research. We argue that the homocentric diagnostic criteria of addiction are no more a hindrance to the use of invertebrate models than they are to vertebrate models. We highlight the strengths of the diversity of different invertebrate model systems in terms of neuroanatomy and molecular machinery, and stress that working with a range of different models will aid in understanding addiction and not be a disadvantage. Finally, we discuss the specific advantages of utilising invertebrate animals for addiction research and highlight key areas in which invertebrates are suited for making unique and meaningful contributions to this field.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)153-165
    Number of pages13
    JournalBrain, Behavior and Evolution
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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