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Role of feeding-related pathways in alcohol dependence: A focus on sweet preference, NPY, and ghrelin.

Review article
Authors L Leggio
G Addolorato
A Cippitelli
Elisabeth Jerlhag
AB Kampov-Polevoy
RM Swift
Published in Alcoholism: clinical and experimental research
Volume 35
Issue 2
Pages 194-202
ISSN 0145-6008
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Pages 194-202
Language en
Keywords Alcohol Craving; Alcohol Dependence; Appetite; Feeding-Related Pathways; Feeding-Related Peptides; Ghrelin; Neuropeptide Y; Sweet Preference
Subject categories Physiology


Converging research evidence suggests that alcohol and food-seeking behaviors share common neural pathways. There is preclinical and clinical evidence linking the consumption of sweets to alcohol intake in both animals and humans. In addition, a growing body of animal and human literature suggests the involvement of "feeding-related" peptides in alcohol-seeking behavior. In particular, both central and peripheral appetitive peptides have shown a possible role in alcohol dependence. The present mini-review will summarize the literature on the link between sweet preference and alcohol dependence, and on the role of feeding-related peptides in alcohol dependence. Specifically, in an attempt to narrow the field, the present mini-review will focus on 2 specific pathways, the central neuropeptide Y and the peripheral gut peptide ghrelin. Although more research is needed, data available suggest that studying feeding-related pathways in alcohol dependence may have theoretic, biologic, diagnostic, and therapeutic implications.

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