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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018 Dec;235(12):3363-3379. doi: 10.1007/s00213-018-5099-x. Epub 2018 Nov 3.

Vasopressin and alcohol: a multifaceted relationship.

Author information

1
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #7178, Thurston Bowles Building, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7178, USA. kathryn_harper@med.unc.edu.
2
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #7178, Thurston Bowles Building, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7178, USA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7178, USA.
4
Department of Pharmacology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7178, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Arginine vasopressin (VP) has been implicated in a number of neuropsychiatric disorders with an emphasis on situations where stress increased the severity of the disorder. Based on this hypothesized role for VP in neuropsychiatric disorders, much research is currently being undertaken in humans and animals to test VP as a target for treatment of a number of these disorders including alcohol abuse.

OBJECTIVES:

To provide a summary of the literature regarding the role of VP in alcohol- and stress-related behaviors including the use of drugs that target VP in clinical trials.

RESULTS:

Changes in various components of the VP system occur with alcohol and stress. Manipulating VP or its receptors can alter alcohol- and stress-related behaviors including tolerance to alcohol, alcohol drinking, and anxiety-like behavior. Finally, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to alcohol is also altered by manipulating the VP system. However, clinical trials of VP antagonists have had mixed results.

CONCLUSIONS:

A review of VP's involvement in alcohol's actions demonstrates that there is much to be learned about brain regions involved in VP-mediated effects on behavior. Thus, future work should focus on elucidating relevant brain regions. By using previous knowledge of the actions of VP and determining the brain regions and/or systems involved in its different behavioral effects, it may be possible to identify a specific receptor subtype target, drug treatment combination, or specific clinical contexts that may point toward a more successful treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol intake; Amygdala; Antagonists; Anxiety; Clinical trials; Ethanol; Hypothalamus; Stress; Tolerance; Vasopressin

PMID:
30392132
PMCID:
PMC6286152
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-018-5099-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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