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Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Jan;109(1-2):227-37. Epub 2005 Aug 15.

Intracellular signaling pathways that regulate behavioral responses to ethanol.

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  • 1The Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, Department of Neurology, University of California at San Francisco, 5858 Horton Street, Suite 200, Emeryville, CA 94608, United States.


Recent evidence indicates that ethanol modulates the function of specific intracellular signaling cascades, including those that contain cyclic adenosine 3', 5'-monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase A (PKA), protein kinase C (PKC), the tyrosine kinase Fyn, and phospholipase D (PLD). In some cases, the specific components of these cascades appear to mediate the effects of ethanol, whereas other components indirectly modify responses to ethanol. Studies utilizing selective inhibitors and genetically modified mice have identified specific isoforms of proteins involved in responses to ethanol. The effects of ethanol on neuronal signaling appear restricted to certain brain regions, partly due to the restricted distribution of these proteins. This likely contributes specificity to ethanol's actions on behavior. This review summarizes recent work on ethanol and intracellular signal transduction, emphasizing studies that have identified specific molecular events that underlie behavioral responses to ethanol.

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