Notice of Intent to Publish a Request for Applications for Study of Extinction Learning and Pharmacotherapies for Drug Addiction

Notice Number: NOT-DA-07-027

Key Dates
Release Date: September 20, 2007

Issued by
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), (

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) plans to issue a Request for Applications, in the fall of 2007, to stimulate investigations of the mechanisms underlying extinction learning of drug-taking behaviors.  Research suggests that Pavlovian- and Instrumentally-mediated mechanisms play a role in the acquisition and maintenance of drug seeking.  Furthermore, basic drug addiction research has shown that exposure to drugs of abuse involves neuroadaptations in learning and memory systems, and that extinction of drug-associated stimuli and responses can decrease drug-seeking behavior and modify the underlying neural substrates.  This RFA will solicit applications that build on recent findings regarding the mechanisms underlying extinction learning, resistance to extinction, renewal, reinstatement and factors that contribute to the consolidation of extinction learning and the prevention of relapse.  In particular, the RFA will encourage multi-disciplinary research that incorporates appropriate behavioral paradigms for studying extinction learning along with the study of intracellular signaling systems, neural circuitry, neurotransmitters, and neuromodulators that mediate extinction of both classically and instrumentally learned responses associated with compulsive drug taking. The basic research supported under this RFA is intended to support research that will spur the development of novel therapies for substance use disorders. This initiative, therefore, will encourage investigators to not only integrate behavioral, cellular, neurobiological and/or genetic approaches, but also to conduct research that tests the efficacy of pharmacological and/or genetic interventions (e.g., RNAi)  to enhance extinction learning,  thereby reducing the salience of drug-associated cues and the prepotency of  drug-seeking behaviors.  NIDA is especially interested in research that models extinction of the compulsive responding that develops when drugs are self-administered chronically.  However, other animal behavior models used in drug abuse research (e.g., conditioned place preference procedures) are welcome to the extent that they are justified in terms of their utility in elucidating mechanisms of extinction and in spurring the development of novel therapies for substance use disorders. It is expected that research supported under this RFA will ultimately be used to identify candidate approaches for preliminary clinical interventions


For further information regarding this potential RFA, please contact:

Dr. Paul Schnur
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, MSC 9555
Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone:  301-443-1887
Fax:  301-594-6043


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