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  • 1.
    Augier, Eric
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Dulman, Russell S
    Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
    Licheri, Valentina
    Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Göteborg, 413 90 Göteborg, Sweden.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Farris, Sean
    The Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
    Nätt, Daniel
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Mayfield, R Dayne
    The Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
    Adermark, Louise
    Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Göteborg, 413 90 Göteborg, Sweden.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Psychiatry.
    A molecular mechanism for choosing alcohol over an alternative reward.2018In: Science, ISSN 0036-8075, E-ISSN 1095-9203, Vol. 360, no 6395, p. 1321-1326Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol addiction leads to increased choice of alcohol over healthy rewards. We established an exclusive choice procedure in which ~15% of outbred rats chose alcohol over a high-value reward. These animals displayed addiction-like traits, including high motivation to obtain alcohol and pursuit of this drug despite adverse consequences. Expression of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transporter GAT-3 was selectively decreased within the amygdala of alcohol-choosing rats, whereas a knockdown of this transcript reversed choice preference of rats that originally chose a sweet solution over alcohol. GAT-3 expression was selectively decreased in the central amygdala of alcohol-dependent people compared to those who died of unrelated causes. Impaired GABA clearance within the amygdala contributes to alcohol addiction, appears to translate between species, and may offer targets for new pharmacotherapies for treating this disorder.

  • 2.
    Barbier, Estelle
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Chanthongdee, Kanat
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Mahidol Univ, Thailand.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Sichuan Prov Peoples Hosp, Peoples R China.
    Adermark, Louise
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Downregulation of Synaptotagmin 1 in the Prelimbic Cortex Drives Alcohol-Associated Behaviors in Rats2021In: Biological Psychiatry, ISSN 0006-3223, E-ISSN 1873-2402, Vol. 89, no 4, p. 398-406Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BACKGROUND: Alcohol addiction is characterized by persistent neuroadaptations in brain structures involved in motivation, emotion, and decision making, including the medial prefrontal cortex, the nucleus accumbens, and the amygdala. We previously reported that induction of alcohol dependence was associated with long-term changes in the expression of genes involved in neurotransmitter release. Specifically, Syt1, which plays a key role in neurotransmitter release and neuronal functions, was downregulated. Here, we therefore examined the role of Syt1 in alcohol-associated behaviors in rats. METHODS: We evaluated the effect of Syt1 downregulation using an adeno-associated virus (AAV) containing a short hairpin RNA against Syt1. Cre-dependent Syt1 was also used in combination with an rAAV2 retro-Cre virus to assess circuit-specific effects of Syt1 knockdown (KD). RESULTS: Alcohol-induced downregulation of Syt1 is specific to the prelimbic cortex (PL), and KD of Syt1 in the PL resulted in escalated alcohol consumption, increased motivation to consume alcohol, and increased alcohol drinking despite negative consequences ("compulsivity"). Syt1 KD in the PL altered the excitation/inhibition balance in the basolateral amygdala, while the nucleus accumbens core was unaffected. Accordingly, a projection-specific Syt1 KD in the PL-basolateral amygdala projection was sufficient to increase compulsive alcohol drinking, while a KD of Syt1 restricted to PL-nucleus accumbens core projecting neurons had no effect on tested alcohol-related behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these data suggest that dysregulation of Syt1 is an important mechanism in long-term neuroadaptations observed after a history of alcohol dependence, and that Syt1 regulates alcohol-related behaviors in part by affecting a PL-basolateral amygdala brain circuit.

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  • 3.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Chanthongdee, Kanat
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Mahidol Univ, Thailand.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Gobbo, Francesco
    Univ Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Coppola, Andrea
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Asratian, Anna
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Toivainen, Sanne
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Elect Sci & Technol China, Peoples R China.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Stress-induced escalation of alcohol self-administration, anxiety-like behavior, and elevated amygdala Avp expression in a susceptible subpopulation of rats2021In: Addiction Biology, ISSN 1355-6215, E-ISSN 1369-1600, Vol. 26, no 5, article id e13009Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Comorbidity between alcohol use and anxiety disorders is associated with more severe symptoms and poorer treatment outcomes than either of the conditions alone. There is a well-known link between stress and the development of these disorders, with post-traumatic stress disorder as a prototypic example. Post-traumatic stress disorder can arise as a consequence of experiencing traumatic events firsthand and also after witnessing them. Here, we used a model of social defeat and witness stress in rats, to study shared mechanisms of stress-induced anxiety-like behavior and escalated alcohol self-administration. Similar to what is observed clinically, we found considerable individual differences in susceptibility and resilience to the stress. Both among defeated and witness rats, we found a subpopulation in which exposure was followed by emergence of increased anxiety-like behavior and escalation of alcohol self-administration. We then profiled gene expression in tissue from the amygdala, a key brain region in the regulation of stress, alcohol use, and anxiety disorders. When comparing "comorbid" and resilient socially defeated rats, we identified a strong upregulation of vasopressin and oxytocin, and this correlated positively with the magnitude of the alcohol self-administration and anxiety-like behavior. A similar trend was observed in comorbid witness rats. Together, our findings provide novel insights into molecular mechanisms underpinning the comorbidity of escalated alcohol self-administration and anxiety-like behavior.

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  • 4.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Chanthongdee, Kanat
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Mahidol Univ, Thailand.
    Petrella, Michele
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Söderholm, Simon
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Molecular Medicine and Virology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Coppola, Andrea
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Wiskerke, Joost
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Szczot, Ilona
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Adermark, Louise
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Cantù, Claudio
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Division of Molecular Medicine and Virology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    An epigenetic mechanism for over-consolidation of fear memories2022In: Molecular Psychiatry, ISSN 1359-4184, E-ISSN 1476-5578, Vol. 27, no 12, p. 4893-4904Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Excessive fear is a hallmark of anxiety disorders, a major cause of disease burden worldwide. Substantial evidence supports a role of prefrontal cortex-amygdala circuits in the regulation of fear and anxiety, but the molecular mechanisms that regulate their activity remain poorly understood. Here, we show that downregulation of the histone methyltransferase PRDM2 in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex enhances fear expression by modulating fear memory consolidation. We further show that Prdm2 knock-down (KD) in neurons that project from the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex to the basolateral amygdala (dmPFC-BLA) promotes increased fear expression. Prdm2 KD in the dmPFC-BLA circuit also resulted in increased expression of genes involved in synaptogenesis, suggesting that Prdm2 KD modulates consolidation of conditioned fear by modifying synaptic strength at dmPFC-BLA projection targets. Consistent with an enhanced synaptic efficacy, we found that dmPFC Prdm2 KD increased glutamatergic release probability in the BLA and increased the activity of BLA neurons in response to fear-associated cues. Together, our findings provide a new molecular mechanism for excessive fear responses, wherein PRDM2 modulates the dmPFC -BLA circuit through specific transcriptomic changes.

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  • 5.
    Domi, Ana
    et al.
    Sahlgrenska Acad Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Adermark, Louise
    Sahlgrenska Acad Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Targeting the Opioid Receptors: A Promising Therapeutic Avenue for Treatment in "Heavy Drinking Smokers"2021In: Alcohol and Alcoholism, ISSN 0735-0414, E-ISSN 1464-3502, Vol. 56, no 2, p. 127-138Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aims: Despite a general decline in tobacco use in the last decades, the prevalence of tobacco smoking in individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) remains substantial (45-50%). Importantly, the co-use of both substances potentiates the adverse effects, making it a significant public health problem. Substantial evidence suggests that AUD and Tobacco use disorder (TUD) may share common mechanisms. Targeting these mechanisms may therefore provide more effective therapy. Numerous studies describe a potential role of the endogenous opioid system in both AUD and TUD. Reviewing this literature, we aim to evaluate the efficacy of molecules that target the opioid system as promising therapeutic interventions for treating alcohol and tobacco co-use disorders. Methods: We provide a synthesis of the current epidemiological knowledge of alcohol and tobacco co-use disorders. We evaluate clinical and preclinical research that focuses on the regulation of the endogenous opioid system in alcohol, nicotine, and their interactions. Results: The epidemiological data confirm that smoking stimulates heavy drinking and facilitates alcohol craving. Pharmacological findings suggest that treatments that are efficacious in the dual addiction provide a beneficial treatment outcome in comorbid AUD and TUD. In this regard, MOP, DOP and NOP-receptor antagonists show promising results, while the findings prompt caution when considering KOP-receptor antagonists as a treatment option in alcohol and tobacco co-use disorders. Conclusions: Existing literature suggests a role of the opioid system in sustaining the high comorbidity rates of AUD and TUD. Molecules targeting opioid receptors may therefore represent promising therapeutic interventions in heavy drinking smokers.

  • 6.
    Domi, Ana
    et al.
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Lunerti, Veronica
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Petrella, Michele
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Borruto, Anna Maria
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Ubaldi, Massimo
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Weiss, Friedbert
    Scripps Res Inst, CA USA.
    Ciccocioppo, Roberto
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Genetic deletion or pharmacological blockade of nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptors in the ventral tegmental area attenuates nicotine-motivated behaviour2022In: British Journal of Pharmacology, ISSN 0007-1188, E-ISSN 1476-5381, Vol. 179, no 11, p. 2647-2658Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and Purpose The nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ)-nociceptin opioid-like peptide (NOP) receptor system is widely distributed in the brain and pharmacological activation of this system revealed therapeutic potential in animal models of substance use disorder. Studies also showed that genetic deletion or pharmacological blockade of NOP receptors confer resistance to the development of alcohol abuse. Here, we have used a genetic and pharmacological approach to evaluate the therapeutic potential of NOP antagonism in smoking cessation. Experimental Approach Constitutive NOP receptor knockout rats (NOP-/-) and their wild-type counterparts (NOP+/+) were tested over a range of behaviours to characterize their motivation for nicotine. We next explored the effects of systemic administration of the NOP receptor antagonist LY2817412 (1.0 & 3.0 mg center dot kg(-1)) on nicotine self-administration. NOP receptor blockade was further evaluated at the brain circuitry level, by microinjecting LY2817412 (3.0 & 6.0 mu g center dot mu l(-1)) into the ventral tegmental area (VTA), nucleus accumbens (NAc) and central amygdala (CeA). Key Results Genetic NOP receptor deletion resulted in decreased nicotine intake, decreased motivation to self-administer and attenuation of cue-induced nicotine reinstatement. LY2817412 reduced nicotine intake in NOP+/+ but not in NOP-/- rats, confirming that its effect is mediated by inhibition of NOP transmission. Finally, injection of LY2817412 into the VTA but not into the NAc or CeA decreased nicotine self-administration. Conclusions and Implications These findings indicate that inhibition of NOP transmission attenuates the motivation for nicotine through mechanisms involving the VTA and suggest that NOP receptor antagonism may represent a potential treatment for smoking cessation.

  • 7.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Gehlert, D.
    Cerecor, MD USA; Matrix Pharmaceut Consulting, CO USA.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Thorsell, Annika
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Psychiatry.
    Preclinical evaluation of the kappa-opioid receptor antagonist CERC-501 as a candidate therapeutic for alcohol use disorders2018In: Neuropsychopharmacology, ISSN 0893-133X, E-ISSN 1740-634X, Vol. 43, no 9, p. 1805-1812Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Prior work suggests a role of kappa-opioid signaling in the control of alcohol drinking, in particular when drinking is escalated due to alcohol-induced long-term neuroadaptations. Here, we examined the small molecule selective kappa antagonist CERC-501 in rat models of alcohol-related behaviors, with the objective to evaluate its potential as a candidate therapeutic for alcohol use disorders. We first tested the effect of CERC-501 on acute alcohol withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior. CERC-501 was then tested on basal as well as escalated alcohol self-administration induced by 20% alcohol intermittent access. Finally, we determined the effects of CERC-501 on relapse to alcohol seeking triggered by both stress and alcohol-associated cues. Control experiments were performed to confirm the specificity of CERC-501 effects on alcohol-related behaviors. CERC-501 reversed anxiety-like behavior induced by alcohol withdrawal. It did not affect basal alcohol self-administration but did dose-dependently suppress self-administration that had escalated following long-term intermittent access to alcohol. CERC-501 blocked relapse to alcohol seeking induced by stress, but not when relapse-like behavior was triggered by alcohol-associated cues. The effects of CERC-501 were observed in the absence of sedative side effects and were not due to effects on alcohol metabolism. Thus, in a broad battery of preclinical alcohol models, CERC-501 has an activity profile characteristic of anti-stress compounds. Combined with its demonstrated preclinical and clinical safety profile, these data support clinical development of CERC-501 for alcohol use disorders, in particular for patients with negatively reinforced, stress-driven alcohol seeking and use.

  • 8.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. School of Pharmacy, Pharmacology Unit, Center for Neuroscience, University of Camerino, Camerino, Italy.
    Barchiesi, Riccardo
    Department of Neuroscience, Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Alcohol Addiction Research, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience.
    Epigenetic Dysregulation in Alcohol-Associated Behaviors: Preclinical and Clinical Evidence.2023Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is characterized by loss of control over intake and drinking despite harmful consequences. At a molecular level, AUD is associated with long-term neuroadaptations in key brain regions that are involved in reward processing and decision-making. Over the last decades, a great effort has been made to understand the neurobiological basis underlying AUD. Epigenetic mechanisms have emerged as an important mechanism in the regulation of long-term alcohol-induced gene expression changes. Here, we review the literature supporting a role for epigenetic processes in AUD. We particularly focused on the three most studied epigenetic mechanisms: DNA methylation, Histone modification and non-coding RNAs. Clinical studies indicate an association between AUD and DNA methylation both at the gene and global levels. Using behavioral paradigms that mimic some of the characteristics of AUD, preclinical studies demonstrate that changes in epigenetic mechanisms can functionally impact alcohol-associated behaviors. While many studies support a therapeutic potential for targeting epigenetic enzymes, more research is needed to fully understand their role in AUD. Identification of brain circuits underlying alcohol-associated behaviors has made major advances in recent years. However, there are very few studies that investigate how epigenetic mechanisms can affect these circuits or impact the neuronal ensembles that promote alcohol-associated behaviors. Studies that focus on the role of circuit-specific and cell-specific epigenetic changes for clinically relevant alcohol behaviors may provide new insights on the functional role of epigenetic processes in AUD.

  • 9.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Caputi, Francesca Felicia
    Alma Mater Studiorum Univ Bologna, Italy.
    Romualdi, Patrizia
    Alma Mater Studiorum Univ Bologna, Italy.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Scuppa, Giulia
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Candeletti, Sanzio
    Alma Mater Studiorum Univ Bologna, Italy.
    Atkins, Alison Lynn
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Divison of Neurobiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Psykiatriska kliniken inkl beroendekliniken.
    Demopulos, Gregory
    Omeros Corp, WA 98101 USA.
    Gaitanaris, George
    Omeros Corp, WA 98101 USA.
    Ciccocioppo, Roberto
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Ubaldi, Massimo
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Activation of PPAR gamma Attenuates the Expression of Physical and Affective Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms through Mechanisms Involving Amygdala and Hippocampus Neurotransmission2019In: Journal of Neuroscience, ISSN 0270-6474, E-ISSN 1529-2401, Vol. 39, no 49, p. 9864-9875Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    An isoform of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), PPAR gamma, is the receptor for the thiazolidinedione class of antidiabetic medications including pioglitazone. Neuroanatomical data indicate PPAR gamma localization in brain areas involved in drug addiction. Preclinical and clinical data have shown that pioglitazone reduces alcohol and opioid self-administration, relapse to drug seeking, and plays a role in emotional responses. Here, we investigated the behavioral effect of PPAR gamma manipulation on nicotine withdrawal in male Wistar rats and in male mice with neuron-specific PPAR gamma deletion (PPAR gamma(()(+/+)())) and their littermate wild-type (PPAR gamma((-/-))) controls. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR and RNAscope in situ hybridization assays were used for assessing the levels of expression and cell-type localization of PPAR gamma function, Memory, Mortality, Older subjects, Structural brain abnormalities during nicotine withdrawal. Brain site-specific microinjections of the PPAR gamma agonist pioglitazone were performed to explore the role of this system on nicotine withdrawal at a neurocircuitry level. Results showed that activation of PPAR gamma by pioglitazone abolished the expression of somatic and affective nicotine withdrawal signs in rats and in (PPAR gamma(()(+/+)())) mice. This effect was blocked by the PPAR gamma antagonist GW9662. During early withdrawal and protracted abstinence, the expression of PPAR gamma increased in GABAergic and glutamatergic cells of the amygdala and hippocampus, respectively. Hippocampal microinjections of pioglitazone reduced the expression of the physical signs of withdrawal, whereas excessive anxiety associated with protracted abstinence was prevented by pioglitazone microinjection into the amygdala. Our results demonstrate the implication of the neuronal PPAR gamma in nicotine withdrawal and indicates that activation of PPAR gamma may offer an interesting strategy for smoking cessation.

  • 10.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Adermark, Louise
    Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Neurobiology of alcohol seeking behavior2021In: Journal of Neurochemistry, ISSN 0022-3042, E-ISSN 1471-4159, Vol. 157, no 5, p. 1585-1614Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse consequences. A main challenge of addiction treatment is to prevent relapse, which occurs in more than >50% of newly abstinent patients with alcohol disorder within 3 months. In people suffering from alcohol addiction, stressful events, drug-associated cues and contexts, or re-exposure to a small amount of alcohol trigger a chain of behaviors that frequently culminates in relapse. In this review, we first present the preclinical models that were developed for the study of alcohol seeking behavior, namely the reinstatement model of alcohol relapse and compulsive alcohol seeking under a chained schedule of reinforcement. We then provide an overview of the neurobiological findings obtained using these animal models, focusing on the role of opioids systems, corticotropin-release hormone and neurokinins, followed by dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and GABAergic neurotransmissions in alcohol seeking behavior.

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  • 11.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Camerino, Italy; Univ Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Ubaldi, Massimo
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Somaini, Lorenzo
    Addict Treatment Ctr, Italy.
    Demopulos, Gregory
    Omeros Corp, WA 98101 USA.
    Gaitanaris, George
    Omeros Corp, WA 98101 USA.
    Ciccocioppo, Roberto
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Further evidence for the involvement of the PPAR gamma system on alcohol intake and sensitivity in rodents2020In: Psychopharmacology, ISSN 0033-3158, E-ISSN 1432-2072, Vol. 237, p. 2983-2992Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Rationale Peroxisome Proliferator Activator receptors (PPARs) are intracellular receptors that function as transcription factors, which regulate specific metabolic and inflammatory processes. PPARs are broadly distributed in the body and are also expressed in the central nervous system, especially in areas involved in addiction-related behavioral responses. Recent studies support a role of PPARs in alcoholism and pioglitazone: a PPAR gamma agonist used for treatment of type 2 diabetes showed efficacy in reducing alcohol drinking, stress-induced relapse, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome in rats. Objectives and Methods In the current work, we tested the pharmacological effects of pioglitazone on binge-like alcohol consumption using an intermittent two-bottle choice paradigm in Wistar rats and on the "drinking in the dark" (DID) model in mice with selective deletion of PPAR gamma in neurons. Results Our data show that repeated administration of pioglitazone (10, 30 mg/kg) reduces high voluntary alcohol consumption in Wistar rats. Pre-treatment with the selective PPAR gamma antagonist GW9662 (5 mg/kg) completely prevented the effect of pioglitazone, demonstrating that its action is specifically mediated by activation of PPAR gamma. In line with this result, repeated administration of pioglitazone (30 mg/kg) attenuated binge alcohol consumption in PPAR gamma((+/+)) mice. Whereas in PPAR gamma((-/-)) mice, which exhibit reduced alcohol consumption, pioglitazone had no effect. Of note, PPAR gamma((-/-)) mice exhibited lower patterns of alcohol drinking without showing difference in sucrose (control) intake. Interestingly, PPAR gamma((-/-)) mice displayed a higher sensitivity to the sedative and ataxic effect of alcohol compared with their wild-type counterpart. Conclusions Collectively, these data suggest that PPAR gamma agonists, and specifically pioglitazone, could be potential therapeutics for the treatment of binge alcohol drinking.

  • 12.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Sichuan Prov Peoples Hosp, Peoples R China.
    Paetz, Marvin
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Nordeman, Anton
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Gaëlle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Toivainen, Sanne
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Hansson, Anita C.
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Nicotine increases alcohol self-administration in male rats via a mu-opioid mechanism within the mesolimbic pathway2020In: British Journal of Pharmacology, ISSN 0007-1188, E-ISSN 1476-5381, Vol. 177, no 19, p. 4516-4531Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background and Purpose: Alcohol and nicotine use disorders are commonly comorbid. Both alcohol and nicotine can activate opioid systems in reward-related brain regions, leading to adaptive changes in opioid signalling upon chronic exposure. The potential role of these adaptations for comorbidity is presently unknown. Here, we examined the contribution of mu and kappa-opioid receptors to nicotine-induced escalation of alcohol self-administration in rats. Experimental Approach: Chronic nicotine was tested on alcohol self-administration and motivation to obtain alcohol. We then tested the effect of the kappa antagonist CERC-501 and the preferential mu receptor antagonist naltrexone on basal and nicotine-escalated alcohol self-administration. To probe mu or kappa receptor adaptations, receptor binding and G-protein coupling assays were performed in reward-related brain regions. Finally, dopaminergic activity in response to alcohol was examined, using phosphorylation of DARPP-32 in nucleus accumbens as a biomarker. Key Results: Nicotine robustly induced escalation of alcohol self-administration and motivation to obtain alcohol. This was blocked by naltrexone but not by CERC-501. Escalation of alcohol self-administration was associated with decreased DAMGO-stimulated mu receptor signalling in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and decreased pDARPP-32 in the nucleus accumbens shell in response to alcohol. Conclusions and Implications: Collectively, these results suggest that nicotine contributes to escalate alcohol self-administration through a dysregulation of mu receptor activity in the VTA. These data imply that targeting mu rather than kappa receptors may be the preferred pharmacotherapeutic approach for the treatment of alcohol use disorder when nicotine use contributes to alcohol consumption.

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  • 13.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Toivainen Eloff, Sanne
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Wiskerke, Joost
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Coppola, Andrea
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Petrella, Michele
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping. Linköping University, Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV).
    Activation of GABA(B) receptors in central amygdala attenuates activity of PKC delta plus neurons and suppresses punishment-resistant alcohol self-administration in rats2023In: Neuropsychopharmacology, ISSN 0893-133X, E-ISSN 1740-634X, Vol. 48, p. 1386-1395Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol use despite negative consequences is a core phenomenon of alcohol addiction. We recently used alcohol self-administration that is resistant to footshock punishment as a model of this behavior, and found that activity of PKC delta + GABAergic neurons in the central amygdala (CeA) is a determinant of individual susceptibility for punishment resistance. In the present study, we examined whether activation of GABA(B) receptors in CeA can attenuate the activity of PKC delta + neurons in this region, and whether this will result in suppression of punishment- resistant alcohol self-administration in the minority of rats that show this behavior. Systemic administration of the clinically approved GABA(B) agonist baclofen (1 and 3 mg/kg) dose- dependently reduced punishment-resistant alcohol self-administration. Bilateral microinjections of baclofen into CeA (64 ng in 0.3 mu l/side) reduced the activity of PKC delta + neurons, as measured by Fos expression. This manipulation also selectively suppressed punished alcohol self-administration in punishment-resistant rats. Expression analysis indicated that virtually all CeA PKC delta + neurons express the GABA(B) receptor. Using in vitro electrophysiology, we found that baclofen induced hyperpolarization of CeA neurons, reducing their firing rate in response to depolarizing current injections. Together, our findings provide a potential mechanism that contributes to the clinical efficacy of baclofen in alcohol addiction. Therapeutic use of baclofen itself is limited by problems of tolerance and need for dose escalation. Our findings support a mechanistic rationale for developing novel, improved alcohol addiction medications that target GABA(B) receptors, and that lack these limitations, such as e.g., GABA(B) positive allosteric modulators (PAM:s).

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  • 14.
    Domi, Esi
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Elect Sci & Technol China, Peoples R China.
    Toivainen, Sanne
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Nordeman, Anton
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Gobbo, Francesco
    Univ Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Venniro, Marco
    Univ Maryland, MD 21201 USA.
    Shaham, Yavin
    Natl Inst Drug Abuse NIDA, MD 21224 USA.
    Messing, Robert O.
    Univ Texas Austin, TX 78712 USA; Univ Texas Austin, TX 78712 USA; Univ Texas Austin, TX 78712 USA.
    Visser, Esther
    Vrije Univ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
    van den Oever, Michel C.
    Vrije Univ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
    Holm, Lovisa
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    A neural substrate of compulsive alcohol use2021In: Science Advances, E-ISSN 2375-2548, Vol. 7, no 34, article id eabg9045Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol intake remains controlled in a majority of users but becomes "compulsive," i.e., continues despite adverse consequences, in a minority who develop alcohol addiction. Here, using a footshock-punished alcohol self-administration procedure, we screened a large population of outbred rats to identify those showing compulsivity operationalized as punishment-resistant self-administration. Using unsupervised clustering, we found that this behavior emerged as a stable trait in a subpopulation of rats and was associated with activity of a brain network that included central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). Activity of PKC delta(+) inhibitory neurons in the lateral subdivision of CeA (CeL) accounted for similar to 75% of variance in punishment-resistant alcohol taking. Activity-dependent tagging, followed by chemogenetic inhibition of neurons activated during punishment-resistant self-administration, suppressed alcohol taking, as did a virally mediated shRNA knockdown of PKC delta in CeA. These findings identify a previously unknown mechanism for a core element of alcohol addiction and point to a novel candidate therapeutic target.

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  • 15.
    Hansson, Anita C.
    et al.
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Koopmann, Anne
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Uhrig, Stefanie
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Buhler, Sina
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Kiessling, Eva
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Ciccocioppo, Roberto
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Froemke, Robert C.
    NYU, NY USA.
    Grinevich, Valery
    German Canc Res Ctr, Germany.
    Kiefer, Falk
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Sommer, Wolfgang H.
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany; Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Vollstaedt-Klein, Sabine
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Spanagel, Rainer
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Oxytocin Reduces Alcohol Cue-Reactivity in Alcohol-Dependent Rats and Humans2018In: Neuropsychopharmacology, ISSN 0893-133X, E-ISSN 1740-634X, Vol. 43, no 6, p. 1235-1246Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Approved pharmacological treatments for alcohol use disorder are limited in their effectiveness, and new drugs that can easily be translated into the clinic are warranted. One of those candidates is oxytocin because of its interaction with several alcohol-induced effects. Alcoholdependent rats as well as post-mortem brains of human alcoholics and controls were analyzed for the expression of the oxytocin system by qRT-PCR, in situ hybridizaton, receptor autoradiography ([(125)l]OVTA binding), and immunohistochemistry. Alcohol self administration and cue-induced reinstatement behavior was measured after intracerebroventicular injection of 10 nM oxytocin in dependent rats. Here we show a pronounced upregulation of oxytocin receptors in brain tissues of alcohol dependent rats and deceased alcoholics, primarily in frontal and striatal areas. This upregulation stems most likely from reduced oxytocin expression in hypothalamic nuclei. Pharmacological validaton showed that oxytocin reduced cue-induced reinstatement response in dependent rats-an effect that was not observed in nondependent rats. Finally, a clinical pilot study (German clinical trial number DRKS00009253) using functional magnetic resonance imaging in heavy social male drinkers showed that intranasal oxytocin (24 IU) decreased neural cue-reactivity in brain networks similar to those detected in dependent rats and humans with increased oxytocin receptor expression. These studies suggest that oxytocin might be used as an anticraving medication and thus may positvely affect treatment outcomes in alcoholics.

  • 16.
    Johnstone, Andrea L.
    et al.
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA; Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA; EpiCypher Inc, NC USA.
    Andrade, Nadja S.
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Khomtchouk, Bohdan B.
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA; Univ Chicago, IL 60637 USA.
    Rienas, Christopher A.
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Lowe, Kenneth
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Van Booven, Derek J.
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Esanov, Rustam
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Vilca, Samara
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Tapocik, Jenica D.
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Rodriguez, Keli
    EpiCypher Inc, NC USA.
    Maryanski, Danielle
    EpiCypher Inc, NC USA.
    Keogh, Michael Christopher
    EpiCypher Inc, NC USA.
    Meinhardt, Marcus W.
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Sommer, Wolfgang H.
    Heidelberg Univ, Germany.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Zeier, Zane
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Wahlestedt, Claes
    Univ Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Dysregulation of the histone demethylase KDM6B in alcohol dependence is associated with epigenetic regulation of inflammatory signaling pathways2021In: Addiction Biology, ISSN 1355-6215, E-ISSN 1369-1600, Vol. 26, no 1, article id e12816Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Epigenetic enzymes oversee long-term changes in gene expression by integrating genetic and environmental cues. While there are hundreds of enzymes that control histone and DNA modifications, their potential roles in substance abuse and alcohol dependence remain underexplored. A few recent studies have suggested that epigenetic processes could underlie transcriptomic and behavioral hallmarks of alcohol addiction. In the present study, we sought to identify epigenetic enzymes in the brain that are dysregulated during protracted abstinence as a consequence of chronic and intermittent alcohol exposure. Through quantitative mRNA expression analysis of over 100 epigenetic enzymes, we identified 11 that are significantly altered in alcohol-dependent rats compared with controls. Follow-up studies of one of these enzymes, the histone demethylase KDM6B, showed that this enzyme exhibits region-specific dysregulation in the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens of alcohol-dependent rats. KDM6B was also upregulated in the human alcoholic brain. Upregulation of KDM6B protein in alcohol-dependent rats was accompanied by a decrease of trimethylation levels at histone H3, lysine 27 (H3K27me3), consistent with the known demethylase specificity of KDM6B. Subsequent epigenetic (chromatin immunoprecipitation [ChIP]-sequencing) analysis showed that alcohol-induced changes in H3K27me3 were significantly enriched at genes in the IL-6 signaling pathway, consistent with the well-characterized role of KDM6B in modulation of inflammatory responses. Knockdown of KDM6B in cultured microglial cells diminished IL-6 induction in response to an inflammatory stimulus. Our findings implicate a novel KDM6B-mediated epigenetic signaling pathway integrated with inflammatory signaling pathways that are known to underlie the development of alcohol addiction.

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  • 17.
    Petrella, Michele
    et al.
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Borruto, Anna Maria
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Curti, Lorenzo
    Univ Florence, Italy.
    Domi, Ana
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Barbier, Estelle
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Ilari, Alice
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Weiss, Friedbert
    Scripps Res Inst, CA USA.
    Mannaioni, Guido
    Univ Florence, Italy.
    Masi, Alessio
    Univ Florence, Italy.
    Ciccocioppo, Roberto
    Univ Camerino, Italy; Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Pharmacological blockage of NOP receptors decreases ventral tegmental area dopamine neuronal activity through GABAB receptor-mediated mechanism2024In: Neuropharmacology, ISSN 0028-3908, E-ISSN 1873-7064, Vol. 248, article id 109866Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) peptide and its receptor NOP are highly expressed within several regions of the mesolimbic system, including the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Evidence indicates that the N/OFQ-NOP receptor system is involved in reward processing and historically it has been proposed that activation of NOP receptors attenuates the motivation for substances of abuse. However, recent findings demonstrated that drug self -administration and relapse to drug -seeking are also attenuated after administration of NOP receptor antagonists. Here, to shed light on the mechanisms through which NOP receptor blockers modulate these processes, we utilized ex vivo patch -clamp recordings to investigate the effect of the selective NOP receptor antagonist LY2817412 on VTA dopaminergic (DA) function in male rats. Results showed that, similar to the endogenous NOP receptor agonist N/OFQ, LY2817412 reduced the spontaneous basal firing discharge of VTA DA neurons. Consistently, we found that NOP receptors are expressed both in VTA DA and GABA cells and that LY2817412 slice perfusion increased GABA release onto VTA DA cells. Finally, in the attempt to dissect the role of postsynaptic and presynaptic NOP receptors, we tested the effect of N/OFQ and LY2817412 in the presence of GABA receptors blockers. Results showed that the effect of LY2817412 was abolished following pretreatment with GABABR, but not GABAAR, blockers. Conversely, inhibition of DA neuronal activity by N/OFQ was unaffected by blockade of GABA receptors. Altogether, these results suggest that both NOP receptor agonists and antagonists can decrease VTA DA neuronal activity, but through distinct mechanisms of action. The effect of NOP receptor antagonists occurs through a GABABR-mediated mechanism while NOP receptor agonists seem to act via a direct effect on VTA DA neurons.

  • 18.
    Toivainen Eloff, Sanne
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Xu, Li
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Gobbo, Francesco
    Univ Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Della Valle, Andrea
    Univ Camerino, Italy.
    Coppola, Andrea
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Psykiatricentrum, Psykiatriska kliniken i Linköping.
    Domi, Esi
    Linköping University, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Different mechanisms underlie compulsive alcohol self-administration in male and female rats2024In: Biology of Sex Differences, ISSN 2042-6410, Vol. 15, no 1, article id 17Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BackgroundSex is an important factor in the progression and treatment of alcohol addiction, and therapeutic approaches may have to be tailored to potential sex differences. This highlights the importance of understanding sex differences in behaviors that reflect key elements of clinical alcohol addiction, such as continued use despite negative consequences ("compulsive use"). Studies in experimental animals can help provide an understanding of the role sex plays to influence these behaviors.MethodsLarge populations of genetically heterogeneous male and female Wistar rats were tested in an established model of compulsive alcohol self-administration, operationalized as alcohol responding despite contingent foot shock punishment. We also tested baseline (fixed ratio, unpunished) operant alcohol self-administration, motivation to self-administer alcohol (progressive ratio), and temporal discounting for alcohol reward. In search of predictors of compulsivity, animals were screened for novelty-induced place preference, anxiety-like behavior, pain sensitivity and corticosterone levels. The estrous cycle was monitored throughout the study.ResultsUnpunished self-administration of alcohol did not differ between males and females when alcohol intake was corrected for body weight. Overall, females showed higher levels of compulsive responding for alcohol. Compulsive response rates showed bimodal distributions in male but not in female rats when intermediate shock intensities were used (0.2 and 0.25 mA); at higher shock intensities, responding was uniformly suppressed in both males and females. We also found less steep discounting in females when alcohol was devalued by delaying its delivery. Males exhibited a stronger motivation to obtain alcohol under unpunished conditions, while females showed higher corticosterone levels at baseline. Factor analysis showed that an underlying dimension related to stress and pain predicted compulsivity in females, while compulsivity in males was predicted by a reward factor. We did not find differences in alcohol-related behaviors throughout the various stages of the estrous cycle.ConclusionsOur results suggest that mechanisms promoting compulsivity, a key feature of alcohol addiction, likely differ between males and females. This underscores the importance of considering sex as a biological variable in both preclinical and clinical research, and has potential treatment implications in alcohol addiction. Sex plays an important role in the progression and treatment of alcohol addiction. While men show a higher prevalence of alcohol addiction, women are more susceptible to the adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Additionally, women often rely on heavy drinking as a maladaptive coping mechanism to alleviate stress and anxiety, driven by negative affect. On the other hand, men are more likely to report heavy drinking and relapse in response to positive emotions and social influences. These sex-based differences underline the importance of understanding how vulnerability to alcohol addiction and its treatment varies in males and females.We used genetically heterogeneous rats to explore the behavioral traits that contribute to compulsivity, a key clinical feature of alcohol addiction. We found that motivation to self-administer alcohol was higher in males, while females showed higher compulsive alcohol self-administration. In males, motivation to self-administer alcohol showed a significant correlation with compulsivity, while in females compulsivity was predicted by higher basal corticosterone levels.These findings underlie the importance of sex-specific factors in compulsive alcohol self-administration, with potential prevention and treatment implications in alcohol addiction. Male rats showed a higher motivation to obtain alcohol.Females showed higher levels of compulsive responding for alcohol and a less steep discounting when alcohol was devalued by delaying its delivery.In males compulsivity was predicted by a reward factor, while in females by stress-pain factors.

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