Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2013 Aug;16(8):1094-100. doi: 10.1038/nn.3445. Epub 2013 Jun 30.

Cortical activation of accumbens hyperpolarization-active NMDARs mediates aversion-resistant alcohol intake.

Author information

Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.


Compulsive drinking despite serious adverse medical, social and economic consequences is a characteristic of alcohol use disorders in humans. Although frontal cortical areas have been implicated in alcohol use disorders, little is known about the molecular mechanisms and pathways that sustain aversion-resistant intake. Here, we show that nucleus accumbens core (NAcore) NMDA-type glutamate receptors and medial prefrontal (mPFC) and insula glutamatergic inputs to the NAcore are necessary for aversion-resistant alcohol consumption in rats. Aversion-resistant intake was associated with a new type of NMDA receptor adaptation, in which hyperpolarization-active NMDA receptors were present at mPFC and insula but not amygdalar inputs in the NAcore. Accordingly, inhibition of Grin2c NMDA receptor subunits in the NAcore reduced aversion-resistant alcohol intake. None of these manipulations altered intake when alcohol was not paired with an aversive consequence. Our results identify a mechanism by which hyperpolarization-active NMDA receptors under mPFC- and insula-to-NAcore inputs sustain aversion-resistant alcohol intake.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center