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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Aug;23(4):607-14. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.03.006. Epub 2013 Mar 29.

Neurobiology of an endophenotype: modeling the progression of alcohol addiction in rodents.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Most adults in Western society consume alcohol on a regular basis with few or no negative consequences. However, for certain individuals, alcohol use escalates, leading to uncontrolled drinking bouts, craving, and repeated episodes of relapse. The transition from regulated to uncontrolled and compulsive drinking is a defining feature (i.e. an endophenotype) of alcohol addiction. This behavioral progression can be modeled in rodent paradigms that parallel the diagnostic criteria for addiction in humans. Using these criteria as a framework, this review outlines the neurobiological factors associated with increased vulnerability to excessive, compulsive, and dysregulated alcohol intake in rodents. We conclude by noting gaps in the literature and outline important directions for future research.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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