ABSTRACT: Alcohol dependence is a complex disorder that initiates with episodes of excessive alcohol drinking known as binge drinking. It has a 50-60% risk contribution from inherited susceptibility genes; however, their exact identity and function are still poorly understood. We report that alcohol-preferring P rats have innately elevated levels of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) that colocalize in neurons from the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) and ventral tegmental area (VTA). To examine the potential role of a TLR4/MCP-1 signal, we used Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) vectors (amplicons) that retain in vivo neurotropism. Infusion of amplicons for TLR4 or MCP-1 siRNA into the CeA or VTA from the P rats inhibited target gene expression and blunted binge drinking. A similarly delivered amplicon for scrambled siRNA did not inhibit TLR4 or MCP-1 expression nor reduce binge drinking, identifying a neuronal TLR4/MCP-1 signal that regulates the initiation of voluntary alcohol self-administration. The signal was sustained during alcohol drinking by increased expression of corticotropin-releasing factor and its feedback regulation of TLR4 expression, likely contributing to the transition to alcohol dependence.
Project description:Alcoholism initiates with episodes of excessive alcohol drinking, known as binge drinking, which is one form of excessive drinking (NIAAA Newsletter, 2004) that is related to impulsivity and anxiety (Ducci et al., 2007; Edenberg et al., 2004) and is also predictive of smoking status. The predisposition of non-alcohol exposed subjects to initiate binge drinking is controlled by neuroimmune signaling that includes an innately activated neuronal Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signal. This signal also regulates cognitive impulsivity, a heritable trait that defines drug abuse initiation. However, the mechanism of signal activation, its function in dopaminergic (TH+) neurons within the reward circuitry implicated in drug-seeking behavior [viz. the ventral tegmental area (VTA)], and its contribution to nicotine co-abuse are still poorly understood. We report that the γ-aminobutyric acidA receptor (GABAAR) α2 subunit activates the TLR4 signal in neurons, culminating in the activation (phosphorylation/nuclear translocation) of cyclic AMP response element binding (CREB) but not NF-kB transcription factors and the upregulation of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). The signal is activated through α2/TLR4 interaction, as evidenced by co-immunoprecipitation, and it is present in the VTA from drug-untreated alcohol-preferring P rats. VTA infusion of neurotropic herpes simplex virus (HSV) vectors for α2 (pHSVsiLA2) or TLR4 (pHSVsiTLR4) but not scrambled (pHSVsiNC) siRNA inhibits signal activation and both binge alcohol drinking and nicotine sensitization, suggesting that the α2-activated TLR4 signal contributes to the regulation of both alcohol and nicotine abuse.
Project description:Binge drinking (blood-alcohol levels ? 0.08 g% in a 2-h period), is a significant public health burden in need of improved treatment. Gene therapy may offer beneficial alternatives to current psychosocial and pharmacotherapeutic interventions, but identification of the target genes is a clinical challenge. We report that a GABA(A) ?2 siRNA vector (pHSVsiLA2) infused into the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) of alcohol-preferring (P) rats caused profound and selective reduction of binge drinking associated with inhibition of ?2 expression, decreased GABA(A) receptor density, and inhibition of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). CeA infusion of a TLR4 siRNA vector (pHSVsiLTLR4a) also inhibited binge drinking, but neither vector functioned when infused into the ventral pallidum. Binge drinking was inhibited by a GABA(A) ?1 siRNA vector (pHSVsiLA1) infused into the ventral pallidum, unrelated to TLR4. The vectors did not alter sucrose intake and a scrambled siRNA vector was negative. The data indicate that GABA(A) ?2-regulated TLR4 expression in the CeA contributes to binge drinking and may be a key early neuroadaptation in excessive drinking.
Project description:Alcohol dependence is a complex disorder that initiates with episodes of excessive alcohol drinking known as binge drinking, and has a 50-60% risk contribution from inherited susceptibility genes. Cognitive impulsivity is a heritable trait that may set the stage for transition to alcohol dependence but its role in the ethanol-seeking behavior and the involved genes are still poorly understood. We have previously shown that alcohol-preferring P rats have innately elevated levels of a neuronal Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signal in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) that controls the initiation of excessive alcohol drinking. Here we report that TLR4 is localized in dopaminergic (TH+) neurons and it upregulates the expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) through a cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA)/cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) signal. P rats have higher impulsivity than wild-type (WT) rats and VTA infusion of a non-replicating Herpes simplex virus (HSV) vector for TLR4-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA; pHSVsiTLR4) inhibits both impulsivity and TLR4/TH expression. A scrambled siRNA vector does not affect gene expression or impulsivity. The data suggest that TLR4 signaling in VTA dopaminergic neurons controls impulsivity related to the regulation of TH expression, likely contributing to the initiation of alcohol drinking and its transition to alcohol dependence.
Project description:Cognitive impulsivity is a heritable trait believed to represent the behavior that defines the volition to initiate alcohol drinking. We have previously shown that a neuronal Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signal located in the central amygdala (CeA) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) controls the initiation of binge drinking in alcohol-preferring P rats, and TLR4 expression is upregulated by alcohol-induced corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) at these sites. However, the function of the TLR4 signal in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAc-shell), a site implicated in the control of reward, drug-seeking behavior and impulsivity and the contribution of other signal-associated genes, are still poorly understood. Here we report that P rats have an innately activated TLR4 signal in NAc-shell neurons that co-express the ?2 GABAA receptor subunit and CRF prior to alcohol exposure. This signal is not present in non-alcohol drinking NP rats. The TLR4 signal is sustained by a CRF amplification loop, which includes TLR4-mediated CRF upregulation through PKA/CREB activation and CRF-mediated TLR4 upregulation through the CRF type 1 receptor (CRFR1) and the MAPK/ERK pathway. NAc-shell Infusion of a neurotropic, non-replicating herpes simplex virus vector for TLR4-specific small interfering RNA (pHSVsiTLR4) inhibits TLR4 expression and cognitive impulsivity, implicating the CRF-amplified TLR4 signal in impulsivity regulation.
Project description:Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a complex psychiatric disorder with strong genetic as well as environmental risk factors. One risk factor for developing AUD is binge drinking. High Drinking in the Dark mice (HDID-1) have been selectively bred from genetically heterogeneous mice (HS/Npt stock) for attaining high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) after a 4-hour drinking session in which a single bottle containing 20% ethanol is available and serve as a genetic model of binge drinking. To discover molecular mechanisms underlying the genetic predisposition to binge drinking, we characterized global gene expression in 7 brain regions across the addiction neurocircuit, precisely excised using laser capture microdissection from male, ethanol-naive HDID-1 and control mice Brain regions included in the analysis are prefrontal cortex (PFC), nucleus accumbens core (AcbC), nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh), bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), basolateral amygdala (BLA), central amygdala (CeA), and ventral tegmental area (VTA) Overall design: Total RNA obtained from 7 brain areas implicated in addiction processes of male naïve HDID mice were compared to the same brain areas of male naïve HS/Npt control mice
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent reports have demonstrated that binge-like ethanol (EtOH) drinking leads to an increase in hypothalamic orexin (OX) signaling and that suppressing this signaling via systemic administration of an orexin receptor (OXR) antagonist blocks this behavior; however, the specific OX pathways that modulate this behavior remain unknown. The goal of this study was to further elucidate the role of the OX system in binge-like EtOH drinking using behavioral, molecular, and pharmacological techniques. METHODS:The drinking-in-the-dark (DID) paradigm was used to model binge-like drinking behavior in male C57BL/6J mice. Experiment 1 examined changes in the OX precursor, prepro-orexin, within the hypothalamus following multiple cycle EtOH or sucrose DID using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. In experiments 2a and 2b, we used site-directed infusion of an OXR antagonist to examine the individual contribution of each OXR subtype within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), respectively, in binge-like EtOH or sucrose drinking. RESULTS:Findings from our PCR study revealed that multiple cycles of binge-like EtOH drinking did not lead to changes in prepro-orexin mRNA as a function of binge-like EtOH drinking. However, data from site-directed pharmacology studies indicate that the orexin-1 receptor (OX1R) is the predominate receptor subtype within the VTA and CeA that regulates binge-like EtOH drinking. Interestingly, inhibition of OX1Rs did not affect binge-like sucrose intake, which suggests that these OX circuits are specific for EtOH consumption. CONCLUSIONS:As a whole, these data suggest that the VTA and CeA are important regions in which OX regulates binge-like EtOH drinking behavior. Moreover, these findings identify OXR antagonists as a potential treatment option that may be used to ameliorate problematic drinking behavior while leaving responding to natural rewards relatively intact.
Project description:Protein kinase C epsilon (PKC?) is emerging as a potential target for the development of pharmacotherapies to treat alcohol use disorders, yet little is known regarding how a history of a highly prevalent form of drinking, binge alcohol intake, influences enzyme priming or the functional relevance of kinase activity for excessive alcohol intake.Immunoblotting was employed on tissue from subregions of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the amygdala to examine both idiopathic and binge drinking-induced changes in constitutive PKC? priming. The functional relevance of PKC? translocation for binge drinking and determination of potential upstream signaling pathways involved were investigated using neuropharmacologic approaches within the context of two distinct binge drinking procedures, drinking in the dark and scheduled high alcohol consumption.Binge alcohol drinking elevated p(Ser729)-PKC? levels in both the NAc and the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). Moreover, immunoblotting studies of selectively bred and transgenic mouse lines revealed a positive correlation between the propensity to binge drink alcohol and constitutive p(Ser729)-PKC? levels in the NAc and CeA. Finally, neuropharmacologic inhibition of PKC? translocation within both regions reduced binge alcohol consumption in a manner requiring intact group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors, Homer2, phospholipase C, and/or phosphotidylinositide-3 kinase function.Taken together, these data indicate that PKC? signaling in both the NAc and CeA is a major contributor to binge alcohol drinking and to the genetic propensity to consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
Project description:Although previous research has demonstrated a role for kappa opioid receptor-mediated signaling in escalated alcohol consumption associated with dependence and stress exposure, involvement of the dynorphin/kappa opioid receptor (DYN/KOR) system in binge-like drinking has not been fully explored. Here we used pharmacological and chemogenetic approaches to examine the influence of DYN/KOR signaling on alcohol consumption in the drinking-in-the-dark (DID) model of binge-like drinking. Systemic administration of the KOR agonist U50,488 increased binge-like drinking (Experiment 1) while, conversely, systemic administration of the KOR antagonist nor-BNI reduced drinking in the DID model (Experiment 2). These effects of systemic KOR manipulation were selective for alcohol as neither drug influenced consumption of sucrose in the DID paradigm (Experiment 3). In Experiment 4, administration of the long-acting KOR antagonist nor-BNI into the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) decreased alcohol intake. Next, targeted "silencing" of DYN+ neurons in the CeA was accomplished using a chemogenetic strategy. Cre-dependent viral expression in DYN+ neurons was confirmed in CeA of Pdyn-IRES-Cre mice and functionality of an inhibitory (hM4Di) DREADD was validated (Experiment 5). Activating the inhibitory DREADD by CNO injection reduced binge-like alcohol drinking, but CNO injection did not alter alcohol intake in mice that were treated with control virus (Experiment 6). Collectively, these results demonstrate that DYN/KOR signaling in the CeA contributes to excessive alcohol consumption in a binge-drinking model.
Project description:Despite the fact that binge alcohol drinking (intake resulting in blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) 80 mg% within a 2-h period) is the most prevalent form of alcohol-use disorders (AUD), a large knowledge gap exists regarding how this form of AUD influences neural circuits mediating alcohol reinforcement. The present study employed integrative approaches to examine the functional relevance of binge drinking-induced changes in glutamate receptors, their associated scaffolding proteins and certain signaling molecules within the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). A 30-day history of binge alcohol drinking (for example, 4-5 g kg(-1) per 2 h(-1)) elevated CeA levels of mGluR1, GluN2B, Homer2a/b and phospholipase C (PLC) β3, without significantly altering protein expression within the adjacent basolateral amygdala. An intra-CeA infusion of mGluR1, mGluR5 and PLC inhibitors all dose-dependently reduced binge intake, without influencing sucrose drinking. The effects of co-infusing mGluR1 and PLC inhibitors were additive, whereas those of coinhibiting mGluR5 and PLC were not, indicating that the efficacy of mGluR1 blockade to lower binge intake involves a pathway independent of PLC activation. The efficacy of mGluR1, mGluR5 and PLC inhibitors to reduce binge intake depended upon intact Homer2 expression as revealed through neuropharmacological studies of Homer2 null mutant mice. Collectively, these data indicate binge alcohol-induced increases in Group1 mGluR signaling within the CeA as a neuroadaptation maintaining excessive alcohol intake, which may contribute to the propensity to binge drink.
Project description:The objective of this study was to determine changes in gene expression within the extended amygdala following binge-like alcohol drinking by adolescent alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Starting at 28 days of age, P rats were given concurrent access to 15 and 30 % ethanol for 3 one-h sessions for 5 consecutive days each week until they were 49 days old. Rats were killed by decapitation 3 h after the first ethanol access session on the 15th day of drinking. RNA was prepared from micropunch samples of the nucleus accumbens shell (Acb-sh) and central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). Ethanol intakes were 2.5 to 3.0 g/kg/session. There were 154 and 182 unique named genes that significantly differed (FDR = 0.2) between the water and ethanol group in the Acb-sh and CeA, respectively. Gene Ontology (GO) analyses indicated that adolescent binge drinking produced changes in the in biological processes involved in cell proliferation and regulation of cellular structure in the Acb-sh, and in neuron projection and positive regulation of cellular organization in the CeA. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis indicated that, in the Acb-sh, there were several major intracellular signaling pathways (e.g., cAMP-mediated and protein kinase A signaling pathways) altered by adolescent drinking, with 3-fold more genes up-regulated than down-regulated in the alcohol group. The cAMP-mediated signaling system was also up-regulated in the CeA of the alcohol group. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) indicated significant G-protein coupled receptor signaling and transmembrane receptor protein kinase signaling categories in the Acb-sh and CeA, respectively. Overall, the results of this study indicated that binge-like alcohol drinking by adolescent P rats is differentially altering the expression of genes in the Acb-sh and CeA, some of which are involved in intracellular signaling pathways and may produce long-term changes in neuronal function. Differences in gene expression in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) were compared in two groups of alcohol-preferring (P) rats, one given water only and the other given access to 15 & 30% ethanol during adolescence.