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J Neurosci. 2001 Nov 1;21(21):RC180.

Ethanol consumption and behavioral impulsivity are increased in protein kinase Cgamma null mutant mice.

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Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.


Etiological factors influencing the development of alcoholism are complex and, at a minimum, include an interaction between polygenic factors and personality and biological traits. Human and animal studies suggest that some genes may regulate both the traits associated with alcohol abuse, such as decreased sensitivity or anxiety, and vulnerability to alcoholism. The identification of these genes could elucidate neurochemical pathways that are important in the development of alcohol abuse. Results from the present study indicate that the gene encoding the neuronal-specific gamma subtype of protein kinase C (PKCgamma) influences both ethanol consumption and behavioral impulsivity, a personality characteristic associated with Type II alcoholics, in a pleiotropic manner. Mice lacking PKCgamma consume more ethanol in a two-bottle choice paradigm and also demonstrate increased behavioral impulsivity in an appetitive-signaled nosepoke task when compared with wild-type littermate control mice. Therefore, PKCgamma may be an important mechanism within the cell that mediates one or more neurochemical pathways relevant to an increased predisposition to alcoholism.

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