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Sleep-mediated regulation of reward circuits: implications in substance use disorders

Abstract

Our modern society suffers from both pervasive sleep loss and substance abuse—what may be the indications for sleep on substance use disorders (SUDs), and could sleep contribute to the individual variations in SUDs? Decades of research in sleep as well as in motivated behaviors have laid the foundation for us to begin to answer these questions. This review is intended to critically summarize the circuit, cellular, and molecular mechanisms by which sleep influences reward function, and to reveal critical challenges for future studies. The review also suggests that improving sleep quality may serve as complementary therapeutics for treating SUDs, and that formulating sleep metrics may be useful for predicting individual susceptibility to SUDs and other reward-associated psychiatric diseases.

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Fig. 1: Sleep–reward interactions and implications in substance use disorders.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Yan Dong for helpful discussions.

Funding

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers DA043826 (YH), DA046491 (YH), AA028145 (YH), DA046346 (YH).

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YH designed the framework; RG, DV, AA, and YH collected the literature and wrote the review. We agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

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Correspondence to Yanhua H. Huang.

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Guo, R., Vaughan, D.T., Rojo, A.L.A. et al. Sleep-mediated regulation of reward circuits: implications in substance use disorders. Neuropsychopharmacol. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-022-01356-8

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