Pietro Cottone, Ph.D.


Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry
Department of Pharmacology

Ph.D.: University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy

LAD - Laboratory of Addictive Disorders
(click for lab site)

Research Interests

Dr. Cottone is co-director of the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders. Dr. Cottone’s research interests focus on the neurobiological substrates of motivated behaviors including feeding and addiction. The major goal of Dr. Cottone’s research is identifying the biological bases of and potential treatments for eating disorders and obesity. Current studies concern the role of stress in compulsive eating and palatable food dependence. Areas of focused research include the investigation of the neurobiological bases of stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression. Dr. Cottone’s studies are carried out on environmental and genetic animal models, using behavioral, biochemical, and molecular approaches.

Dr. Cottone co-directs a graduate course in neuropsychopharmacology offered for the first time in Fall 2010 which examines the interaction between behavior and classes of drugs that affect the central nervous system.

  • Neurobiology of Compulsive Eating Presentation at The Royal Society’s “Of mice and mental health: facilitating dialogue between basic and clinical neuroscientists.”
  • Boston University School of Medicine. Researchers in the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders have discovered that impulsivity is a risk factor for food addiction . Results of the study, published online in Neuropsychopharmacology , suggest that impulsivity promotes pathological overeating.
  • Sciencedaily: Impulsivity is a risk factor for food addition.

Velázquez-Sánchez C, Ferragud A, Moore CF, Everitt BJ, Sabino V, Cottone P. Neuropsychopharmacology. To the publication section, we will need two publications added: High Trait Impulsivity Predicts Food Addiction-Like Behavior in the Rat. 2014 Apr 29. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.98. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24776685 .

Blasio A, Iemolo A, Sabino V, Petrosino S, Steardo L, Rice KC, Orlando P, Arturo Iannotti F, Di Marzo V, Zorrilla EP, Cottone P. Rimonabant precipitates anxiety in rats withdrawn from palatable food: role of the central amygdale. Neuropsycholpharmacology. 2013 Jun 24. Epub ahead of print.

Cottone P, Wang X, Park JW, Valenza M, Blasio A, Kwak J, Iyer MR, Steardo L, Rice KC, Hayashi T, Sabino V. Antagonism of Sigma-1 Receptors Blocks Compulsive-Like Eating. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Jun 20 [Epub ahead of print.] .

Blasio A, Narayan AR, Kaminski BJ, Steardo L, Sabino V, Cottone P. A modified adjusting delay task to assess implusive choice between isocaloric reinforcers in non-deprived male rats: effects of 5-HT2A/C and 5-HT1A receptor agonists. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Jan; 219(2):377-86. .

Fekete EM, Zhao Y, Szücs A, Sabino V, Cottone P, Rivier J, Vale WW, Koob GF, Zorrilla EP. Systemic urocotrin 2, but not urocortin 1 or stressin 1-A, suppresses feeding via CRF2 receptors without malaise and stress. Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Dec; 164(8):1959-75. .

Sabino V, Cottone P, Blasio A, Iyer MR, Steardo L, Rice KC, Conti B, Koob GF, Zorrilla EP. Activation of σ-receptor induces binge-like drinking in Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 May; 36(6):1207-18. PMC 3079320. .

Repunte-Canonigo V, Berton F., Cottone P, Reifel-Miller A, Roberts AJ, Morales M., Francesconi W, Sanna PP. A potential role for adiponectin receptor 2 (AdipoR2) in the regulation of alcohol intake. Brain Res 2010 Jun 21; 1339:11-7. PMC2906226. .

Roberto M, Cruz MT, Gilpin NW, Sabino V, Schweitzer P, Bajo M, Cottone P, Madamba SG, Stouffer DF, Zorrilla EP, Koob GF, Siggins GF, Parson LH. Corticotropin releasing factor-induced amygdala gamma-aminobutyric Acid release play a key role in alcohol dependence. Biol Psychiatry. 2010 May 1; 67(9):831-9. PMC2883449. .

Cottone P, Sabino V, Roberto M, Bajo M, Pockros L, Frihauf J, Fekete EM, Steardo L, Rice KC, Grigoriadis D, Conti B, Koob GF, Zorrilla EP. CRF system recruitment mediates dark side of compulsive eating. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Nov 24;106(47):20016-20. PMC Journal 2785284
The paper has been evaluated by the Faculty of 1000 Biology: 9, Excellent. Heilig, Markus .

Sabino V, Cottone P, Zhao Y, Steardo L, Koob GF, Zorrilla EP. Selective reduction of alcohol drinking in Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats by a sigma-1 receptor antagonist. Psychopharmacol 2009; 205(2): 327-335. PMC2748837

Fonareva I, Spangler E, Cannella N, Sabino V, Cottone P, Ciccocioppo R, Zorrilla EP, Ryabinin AE. Increased perioculomotor Urocortin 1 immunoreactivity in genetically selected alcohol preferring rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. (2009); 33(11):1956-65. PMC 2813693..

Greenwell TN, Funk CK, Cottone P, Richardson HN, Chen SA, Rice KC, Zorrilla EP, Koob GF. Corticotropin-releasing factor-1 receptor antagonists decrease heroin self-administration in long-, but not short-access rats. Addiction Biology 2009 Apr;14(2):130-43. PMC2748834

Sabino V, Cottone P, Parylak SL, Steardo L, Zorrilla EP. Sigma-1 receptor knockout mice display a depressive-like phenotype. Behav Brain Res 2009; 198(2): 472-476. PMC2667953

Sabino V, Cottone P, Zhao Y, Iyer M, Steardo L yr, Steardo L, Rice KC, Conti B, Koob GF, Zorrilla EP. The sigma receptor antagonist BD-1063 decreases ethanol intake and reinforcement in animal models of excessive drinking. Neuropsychopharmacol 2009; 34(6): 1482-93. PMC2669694

Cottone P, Sabino V, Steardo L, Zorrilla EP. Consummatory, anxiety-related and metabolic adaptations in female rats with alternating access to preferred food. Psychoneuroendocrinol 2009; 34(1):38-49. PMCID: PMC3224792.

Greenwell TN, Walker BM, Cottone P, Zorrilla EP, Koob GF. The alpha(1) adrenergic receptor antagonist prazosin reduces heroin self-administration in rats with extended access to heroin administration. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009; 91(3):295-302. PMC2637926

Cottone P, Sabino V, Steardo S, Zorrilla EP. Intermittent preferred food access reduces the reinforcing efficacy of chow in rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2008; 295(4):R1066-76. PMC2576087

Cottone P, Sabino V, Steardo L, Zorrilla EP. Opioid-dependent anticipatory negative contrast and binge-like eating in rats with limited access to highly preferred food. Neuropsychopharmacol 2008; 33(3):524-35. PMC Journal – In Process

George O, Ghozland S, Azar MR, Cottone P, Zorrilla EP, Parsons LH, O’Dell LE, Richardson HN, Koob GF. CRF-CRF1 system activation mediates withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior and increases in nicotine self-administration in nicotine dependent rats. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2007; 104(43):17198-203. PMC2040467

Cottone P, Sabino V, Nagy TR, Rivier JE, Coscina DV, Zorrilla EP. Feeding microstructure in diet-induced obesity susceptible and resistant rats: comparative central effects of urocortin 2. J Physiol 2007; 583(Pt 2):487-504. PMC2277029

Sabino V, Cottone P, Steardo L, Schmidhammer H, Zorrilla EP. 14-methoxymetopon, a highly potent mu opioid agonist, biphasically affects ethanol intake in Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats. Psychopharmacol 2007; 192(4):537-46. PMC Journal – In Process

Cottone P, Sabino V, Steardo L, Zorrilla EP. FG 7142 specifically reduces meal size and the rate and regularity of sustained feeding in female rats: evidence that benzodiazepine inverse agonists reduce food palatability. Neuropsychopharmacol 2007; 32(5):1069-81. PMC Journal – In Process

Sabino V, Cottone P, Koob GF, Steardo L, Lee MJ, Rice KC, Zorrilla EP. Dissociation between opioid and CRF1 antagonist sensitive drinking in Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats. Psychopharmacol 2006; 189(2):175-86. PMC Journal – In Process

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Office: R-618
Office Phone: 617-358-1950
Lab Phone: 617-358-1949