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Neuropharmacology. 2018 Sep 15;140:162-173. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.07.034. Epub 2018 Jul 31.

Maladaptive behavioral regulation in alcohol dependence: Role of kappa-opioid receptors in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Alcoholism and Addictions Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program, Translational Addiction Research Center, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 99164-4820, USA.
2
Laboratory of Alcoholism and Addictions Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program, Translational Addiction Research Center, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 99164-4820, USA. Electronic address: b_walker@wsu.edu.

Abstract

There is an important emerging role for the endogenous opioid dynorphin (DYN) and the kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) in the treatment of alcohol dependence. Evidence suggests that the DYN/KOR system in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) contributes to maladaptive behavioral regulation during withdrawal in alcohol dependence. The current experiments were designed to assess dysregulation of the BNST DYN/KOR system by evaluating alcohol dependence-induced changes in DYN/KOR gene expression (Pdyn and Oprk1, respectively), and the sensitivity of alcohol self-administration, negative affective-like behavior and physiological withdrawal to intra-BNST KOR antagonism during acute withdrawal. Wistar rats trained to self-administer alcohol, or not trained, were subjected to an alcohol dependence induction procedure (14 h alcohol vapor/10 h air) or air-exposure. BNST micropunches from air- and vapor-exposed animals were analyzed using RT-qPCR to quantify dependence-induced changes in Pdyn and Oprk1 mRNA expression. In addition, vapor- and air-exposed groups received an intra-BNST infusion of a KOR antagonist or vehicle prior to measurement of alcohol self-administration. A separate cohort of vapor-exposed rats was assessed for physiological withdrawal and negative affective-like behavior signs following intra-BNST KOR antagonism. During acute withdrawal, following alcohol dependence induction, there was an upregulation in Oprk1 mRNA expression in alcohol self-administering animals, but not non-alcohol self-administering animals, that confirmed dysregulation of the KOR/DYN system within the BNST. Furthermore, intra-BNST KOR antagonism attenuated escalated alcohol self-administration and negative affective-like behavior during acute withdrawal without reliably impacting physiological symptoms of withdrawal. The results confirm KOR system dysregulation in the BNST in alcohol dependence, illustrating the therapeutic potential of targeting the KOR to treat alcohol dependence.

KEYWORDS:

22-kHZ ultrasonic vocalizations; Alcohol dependence; Alcohol withdrawal; BNST; Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis; Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST); DYN; Dynorphin; EPM; KOR; KOR gene; Kappa opioid receptor; Kappa-opioid receptor; MOR; Operant self-administration; Oprk1; Oprk1 mRNA; Pdyn; Pdyn mRNA; Prodynorphin - DYN gene; SA; Self administration; USV; Ultrasonic vocalization; mu-opioid receptor; nor-BNI; nor-binaltorphimine

PMID:
30075159
PMCID:
PMC6232846
[Available on 2019-09-15]
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.07.034

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