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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Sep;17(9):576-91. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.85. Epub 2016 Jul 21.

Molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol-drinking behaviours.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of California, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, San Francisco, California 941430-0663, USA.
2
School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.

Abstract

The main characteristic of alcohol use disorder is the consumption of large quantities of alcohol despite the negative consequences. The transition from the moderate use of alcohol to excessive, uncontrolled alcohol consumption results from neuroadaptations that cause aberrant motivational learning and memory processes. Here, we examine studies that have combined molecular and behavioural approaches in rodents to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that keep the social intake of alcohol in check, which we term 'stop pathways', and the neuroadaptations that underlie the transition from moderate to uncontrolled, excessive alcohol intake, which we term 'go pathways'. We also discuss post-transcriptional, genetic and epigenetic alterations that underlie both types of pathways.

PMID:
27444358
PMCID:
PMC5131788
DOI:
10.1038/nrn.2016.85
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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