Navigation Links
New study reveals brain cell mechanism of alcohol dependence

A study released today reveals a cellular mechanism involved in alcohol dependence. The study, in the May 28 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, shows that gabapentin, a drug used to treat chronic pain and epilepsy, reduces alcohol intake in alcohol-dependent rats by normalizing chemical communication between neurons, which is altered by chronic alcohol abuse.

The central amygdala, a part of the brain involved in emotions such as stress and fear, is important in regulating alcohol consumption. Most central amygdala neurons communicate via a chemical signal known as GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Alcohol dependence has been associated with the strengthening of inhibitory synapses in this brain region.

Gabapentin (known commercially as Neurontin) is structurally similar to GABA and increases GABA neurotransmission. In alcoholics, gabapentin has been shown to effectively treat alcohol withdrawal and reduce alcohol consumption and cravings following detoxification. However, how gabapentin acts in the brain to combat alcohol dependence has been unclear.

The studys authors, led by Marisa Roberto, PhD, at the The Scripps Research Institute, made rats dependent on alcohol by chronically exposing them to ethanol in an aerosol or in their food. They then tested how much alcohol the rats voluntarily drank and examined neural signaling in the central amygdala.

The study authors found that gabapentin reduced alcohol intake in rats chronically exposed to alcohol, but not in rats that were chronically unexposed. Gabapentin reduced alcohol intake in alcohol-dependent rats whether it was given systemically or infused directly into the central amygdala, supporting the importance of the central amygdala in alcohol dependence.

What I find to be important about this paper is that gabapentins effect on alcohol consumption is only seen in alcohol-dependent rats, said Julie Blendy, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania, an expert unaffiliated with the study. For me, this speaks volumes to the addiction field, in that therapeutic targets for addictionwhich have been few and far betweenmay be missed when examined in animal studies that use only minor exposures of alcohol, said Blendy.

Gabapentin corrected the cellular effects of chronic alcohol exposure. Both gabapentin and alcohol increase GABA neurotransmission in the central amygdala of non-alcohol-dependent rats, but in alcohol-dependent rats, gabapentin reduced it, suggesting that altered GABA neurotransmission is key to alcohol dependence.

In the study, gabapentin and chronic alcohol exposure both affected GABA B (GABAB) receptors. The authors believe that alcohol abuse alters the function of these receptors, and gabapentin may be able to counteract alcohol dependence by regulating their function.

This study provides important mechanistic insights, said Robert Messing, MD, at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California at San Francisco, an expert also uninvolved with the study. Because gabapentin is well tolerated, this paper provides a strong rationale for large clinical trials testing whether gabapentin is an effective treatment for alcoholism in both detoxified and actively drinking alcoholics, Messing said.


Contact: Todd Bentsen
Society for Neuroscience

Related medicine news :

1. Looking Tired or Angry May Have More to do With Facial Aesthetics Than How You Feel, ASPS Study Reveals
2. Study Shows Pine Bark Naturally Reduces Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Diabetics
3. Study Showed ALIMTA(R) (pemetrexed for injection) Improved Survival in Certain Types of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
4. Global study reveals differences in standard of care for osteoporosis across the world
5. New study shows positive role physical therapists play in lymphedema diagnois and treatment
6. RTOG Study Likely Treatment Option for Brain Tumor Patients like Sen. Kennedy
7. New CDC Study Shows Smoke-Free Laws Spreading Across U.S. and Should Spur Remaining States to Take Action
8. Experimental agent blocks prostate cancer in animal study
9. Study finds unique HIV vaccine formula elicits strong immune responses
10. First of its kind study compares high school knee injuries by sport and gender
11. UNC study firms up promise of potential new cervical cancer screening tool
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, ... the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where ... city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Many women ... diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not only alleviate ... that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a pregnancy. The ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn ... specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand ... all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, ... at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health ... annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Marne, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... awareness about the dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, ... for individuals who are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 According ... by Type (Standard Pen Needles, Safety Pen Needles), Needle ... GLP-1, Growth Hormone), Mode of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - ... This report studies the market for the forecast period ... reach USD 2.81 Billion by 2021 from USD 1.65 ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 ... the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher was ... Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive member ... independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  MedSource announced today that it ... software solution of choice.  This latest decision demonstrates ... to their clients by offering a state-of-the-art electronic ... establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform of choice ... clients.  "nowEDC has long been a preferred EDC ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: