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Neurosci Lett. 2010 May 21;475(3):124-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.03.051. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Artificial microRNA-based neurokinin-1 receptor gene silencing reduces alcohol consumption in mice.

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Division of Molecular and Life Sciences, Hanyang University, Ansan, Republic of Korea.


In the brain, the stress system plays an important role in motivating continued alcohol use and relapse. The neuropeptide substance P and the neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R) are involved in the stress response and drug reward systems. Recent findings have shown that the binding of ligands to NK1Rs decreases the self-administration of alcohol in mice. We examined the effect of an artificial microRNA (amiRNA) on the functional expression of NK1R in mouse brains. Lentiviruses expressing either an amiRNA targeting the NK1R (amiNK1R) or a negative control amiRNA (amiNC) were injected into mouse brains. Four weeks after amiRNA injection, we found that amiNK1R decreased the voluntary alcohol consumption compared to mice injected with amiNC. We also observed that NK1R expression was reduced in the hippocampus. RNA interference is an effective approach to regulate the expression of specific behavior-related genes. Our results support the potential use of amiRNA as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

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