Addiction is a chronic and recurrent disease. In its pathology, neuroadaptive changes within the dopaminergic pathways inside the mesolimbic system play a predominant role. Of note, the manner in which various neurotransmitters act on their receptors, may modulate the addictive process. Adenosine, an important neuromodulator in the central nervous system, is able to modify the opioid dependence, doing so mainly by its activity on the adenosine A1 and A2A receptors. In the present manuscript, the actual state of knowledge on the relationships between adenosinergic receptors and opioid dependence has been described. Various literature data on the involvement of adenosine ligands, mainly in the signs of morphine withdrawal, as well as morphine-induced sensitization, were also collected. Additionally, in this paper, some important interactions between adenosine and other neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine, glutamate) are described. It is put forward that these connections are the major mechanism of involvement of the adenosinergic system in morphine addiction. The repeatedly confirmed effectiveness of adenosine ligands in morphine dependence, as seen in various experimental protocols, suggests that adenosine ligands may be useful tools for developing new strategies for attenuating morphine dependence.
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