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Addict Biol. 2007 Mar;12(1):30-4.

Region-specific down-regulation of Crhr1 gene expression in alcohol-preferring msP rats following ad lib access to alcohol.

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Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies, NIAAA/NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-1108, USA.


Corticotropin-releasing hormone 1 receptors (CRH-R1) mediate increased behavioral sensitivity to stress and excessive alcohol self-administration following a history of dependence. It was recently demonstrated that the genetically selected alcohol-preferring msP rat line replicates many characteristics of the post-dependent state, due to an innate up-regulation of the Crhr1 transcript in several limbic areas related to alcohol drinking motivation. Here, we examined whether voluntary alcohol consumption might be able to down-regulate Crhr1 transcript levels in msP rats in brain areas where elevated expression previously has been shown. Within central and medial amygdala (CeA, MeA), as well as the Nc. Accumbens, 2 weeks'ad lib access to alcohol led to a highly significant down-regulation of the Crhr1 transcript. Alcohol-induced Crhr1 down-regulation was not seen in cingulate cortex. These data support that recruitment of CRH-R1 signaling within components of the extended amygdala drives excessive alcohol intake, and that alcohol is voluntarily consumed in part for its ability to reduce CRH-R1 activity in this region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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