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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018 Sep;43(10):1989-1999. doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0119-4. Epub 2018 Jun 15.

Generation of silent synapses in dentate gyrus correlates with development of alcohol addiction.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. L. Pasteura 3, Warsaw, 02-093, Poland.
2
Department of Molecular Neuropharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Smętna 12, Krakow, 31-343, Poland.
3
Department of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. L. Pasteura 3, Warsaw, 02-093, Poland. k.radwanska@nencki.gov.pl.

Abstract

The brain circuits and synaptic processes that underlie alcohol addiction are currently the subject of intensive research. Here we focus on hippocampal circuitry and show that chemogenetic inhibition of dentate gyrus (DG) during presentation of alcohol-associated cues has long-lasting effects on mice behavior. DG inhibition enhances alcohol seeking and drinking, suggesting that DG regulates addiction-related behaviors. To test this hypothesis, we perform whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from the granule cells of DG and look for electrophysiological correlates of alcohol addiction. We observe that presentation of alcohol-associated cue light that induces relapse to alcohol-seeking results in generation of silent synapses, that lack functional AMPA receptors. Furthermore, using human criteria of addiction, we differentiate mice controlling their alcohol consumption from those that undergo transition to addiction to discover that the levels of silent synapses induced by alcohol cues are specifically increased in the addicted mice. As the total level of dendritic spines that harbor synapses is constant at this time point, our data indicate that synapses of perforant path to DG are weakened during cue relapse. Finally we demonstrate that, acamprosate, a drug that limits alcohol drinking and seeking in addicts, prevents generation of silent synapses in DG upon presentation of alcohol-associated cues. Altogether, our data suggest that weakening of DG synapses upon cue relapse contributes to persistent alcohol addiction-related behaviors.

PMID:
29967367
PMCID:
PMC6098144
DOI:
10.1038/s41386-018-0119-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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