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Brain region-specific neuromedin U signalling regulates alcohol-related behaviours and food intake in rodents.

Journal article
Authors Daniel Vallöf
Aimilia Lydia Kalafateli
Elisabeth Jerlhag
Published in Addiction Biology
Volume 25
Issue 3
ISSN 1355-6215
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Language en
Subject categories Neurosciences


Albeit neuromedin U (NMU) attenuates alcohol-mediated behaviours, its mechanisms of action are poorly defined. Providing that the behavioural effects of alcohol are processed within the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell, anterior ventral tegmental area (aVTA), and laterodorsal tegmental area (LDTg), we assessed the involvement of NMU signalling in the aforementioned areas on alcohol-mediated behaviours in rodents. We further examined the expression of NMU and NMU receptor 2 (NMUR2) in NAc and the dorsal striatum of high compared with low alcohol-consuming rats, as this area is of importance in the maintenance of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Finally, we investigated the involvement of NAc shell, aVTA and LDTg in the consumption of chow and palatable peanut butter, to expand the link between NMU and reward-related behaviours. We demonstrated here, that NMU into the NAc shell, but not aVTA or LDTg, blocked the ability of acute alcohol to cause locomotor stimulation and to induce memory retrieval of alcohol reward, as well as reduced peanut butter in mice. In addition, NMU into NAc shell decreased alcohol intake in rats. On a molecular level, we found increased NMU and decreased NMUR2 expression in the dorsal striatum in high compared with low alcohol-consuming rats. Both aVTA and LDTg, rather than NAc shell, were identified as novel sites of action for NMU's anorexigenic properties in mice based on NMU's ability to selectively reduce chow intake when injected to these areas. Collectively, these data indicate that NMU signalling in different brain areas selectively modulates different behaviours.

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