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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2011;98:293-347. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385506-0.00007-7.

Molecular targets of alcohol action: Translational research for pharmacotherapy development and screening.

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  • 1Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA.


Alcohol abuse and dependence are multifaceted disorders with neurobiological, psychological, and environmental components. Research on other complex neuropsychiatric diseases suggests that genetically influenced intermediate characteristics affect the risk for heavy alcohol consumption and its consequences. Diverse therapeutic interventions can be developed through identification of reliable biomarkers for this disorder and new pharmacological targets for its treatment. Advances in the fields of genomics and proteomics offer a number of possible targets for the development of new therapeutic approaches. This brain-focused review highlights studies identifying neurobiological systems associated with these targets and possible pharmacotherapies, summarizing evidence from clinically relevant animal and human studies, as well as sketching improvements and challenges facing the fields of proteomics and genomics. Concluding thoughts on using results from these profiling technologies for medication development are also presented.

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