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FASEB J. 2008 Jul;22(7):2393-404. doi: 10.1096/fj.07-099135. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Dynorphin is a downstream effector of striatal BDNF regulation of ethanol intake.

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  • 1Ernest Gallo Research Center, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA.


We recently identified brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the dorsal striatum to be a major component of a homeostatic pathway controlling ethanol consumption. We hypothesized that ethanol-mediated activation of the BDNF signaling cascade is required for the ethanol-related function of the neurotrophic factor. Here, we demonstrate that exposure of striatal neurons to ethanol results in the activation of the BDNF receptor TrkB, leading to the activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP kinase) signaling pathway and the subsequent increase in the expression of preprodynorphin (Pdyn) via BDNF. Finally, we show that activation of the dynorphin receptor, the kappa opioid receptor (KOR), is required for the BDNF-mediated decrease in ethanol intake, illustrating a function of dynorphin in BDNF's homeostatic control of ethanol consumption. Taken together, these results demonstrate that BDNF regulates ethanol intake by initiation of MAP kinase signaling and the ensuing production of downstream gene products, including Pdyn.

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