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Transcriptional profiling of the rat nucleus accumbens after modest or high alcohol exposure

Journal article
Authors Julia Morud
Arghavan Ashouri
Erik Larsson
Mia Ericson
Bo Söderpalm
Published in Plos One
Volume 12
Issue 7
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Language en
Keywords Alcohol Drinking, Animals, Ethanol/*pharmacology, *Gene Expression Profiling, High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing, Male, Nucleus Accumbens/*drug effects/metabolism, RNA/chemistry/isolation & purification/metabolism, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Sequence Analysis, RNA, Transcriptome/*drug effects
Subject categories Cell Biology


Alcohol use disorder is a chronic relapsing brain disorder and a global health issue. Prolonged high alcohol consumption increases the risk for dependence development, a complex state that includes progressive alterations in brain function. The molecular mechanisms behind these changes remain to be fully disclosed, but several genes show altered expression in various regions of the rat brain even after modest alcohol exposure. The present study utilizes whole-transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) to investigate expression changes in the brain nucleus accumbens (NAc), an area of particular interest in addictive disorders, of alcohol consuming rats. The impact on gene expression after eight weeks of moderate voluntary alcohol consumption or voluntary consumption combined with forced excessive exposure was explored in two separate experiments. The results point to a lack of strong and consistent expression alterations in the NAc after alcohol exposure, suggesting that transcriptional effects of alcohol are weak or transient, or occur primarily in brain regions other than NAc.

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