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Brain Res. 2010 Jun 21;1339:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.03.063. Epub 2010 Apr 10.

Genome-wide gene expression analysis identifies K-ras as a regulator of alcohol intake.

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Molecular and Integrative Neuroscience Department, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Adaptations in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have been implicated in alcohol and drug addiction. To identify genes that may contribute to excessive drinking, here we performed microarray analyses in laser microdissected rat ACC after a single or repeated administration of an intoxicating dose of alcohol (3 g/kg). Expression of the small G protein K-ras was differentially regulated following both single and repeated alcohol administration. We also observed that voluntary alcohol intake in K-ras heterozygous null mice (K-ras(+/-)) did not increase after withdrawal from repeated cycles of intermittent ethanol vapor exposure, unlike in their wild-type littermates. To identify K-ras regulated pathways, we then profiled gene expression in the ACC of K-ras(+/-), heterozygous null mice for the K-ras negative regulator Nf1 (Nf1(+/-)) and wild-type mice following repeated administration of an intoxicating dose of alcohol. Pathway analysis showed that alcohol differentially affected various pathways in a K-ras dependent manner - some of which previously shown to be regulated by alcohol - including the insulin/PI3K pathway, the NF-kappaB, the phosphodiesterases (PDEs) pathway, the Jak/Stat and the adipokine signaling pathways. Altogether, the data implicate K-ras-regulated pathways in the regulation of excessive alcohol drinking after a history of dependence.

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