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Modest Long-Term Ethanol Consumption Affects Expression of Neurotransmitter Receptor Genes in the Rat Nucleus Accumbens.

Journal article
Authors Susanne Jonsson
Mia Ericson
Bo Söderpalm
Published in Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research
Volume 38
Issue 3
Pages 722–729
ISSN 1530-0277
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 722–729
Language en
Keywords Ethanol Consumption;Gene Expression;Nucleus Accumbens;Polymerase Chain Reaction;Rat
Subject categories Neurobiology


Over 100 million people worldwide are affected by alcohol use disorders. These conditions usually take years to develop where an initial, voluntary consumption is gradually replaced by a compulsive intake of alcohol. The exact mechanisms behind this transition remain unknown. However, ethanol (EtOH) is known to interact with several neurotransmitters and receptors in the central nervous system, and chronic EtOH consumption causes alterations in these neurotransmitter systems, proposed to contribute to the development of dependence. This study aimed to repeat previous findings that animals after long-term voluntary EtOH consumption spontaneously increase their intake. That the initial encounter with EtOH causes an elevation of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (nAc), inducing feelings of well-being and creating an incentive to continue the behavior, has been repeatedly reported in both animals and humans. The effects of chronic EtOH consumption on this region are not as well investigated.

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