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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.
    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.
    Dulman, Russell S.
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Damadzic, Ruslan
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Pilling, Andrew
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Hamilton, Paul
    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.
    The GABA(B) Positive Allosteric Modulator ADX71441 Attenuates Alcohol Self-Administration and Relapse to Alcohol Seeking in Rats2017In: Neuropsychopharmacology, ISSN 0893-133X, E-ISSN 1740-634X, Vol. 42, no 9, p. 1789-1799Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    GABAergic signaling is involved in modulating the reinforcing properties of alcohol, and GABA(B) receptors have been proposed as a potential target for clinical treatment of alcoholism. The orthosteric GABA(B) receptor agonist baclofen has been shown to suppress operant self-administration of alcohol in animals and alcohol use in alcohol-dependent patients, but its utility is limited by a narrow therapeutic index. We tested the effects of ADX71441, a novel GABA(B) receptor positive allosteric modulator, on alcohol-related behaviors in rats. We first assessed the effects of ADX71441 ( 1, 3, 10 and 30 mg/kg, I.P.) on both non-dependent and dependent male Wistar rats trained to self-administer 20% alcohol. We then determined the effects of ADX71441 on stress-induced as well as cue-induced relapse-like behavior. Finally, we sought to identify the brain regions through which ADX71441 may act to prevent relapse-like behavior by mapping the neuronal activation induced by stress-induced reinstatement of alcohol-seeking using c-Fos immunohistochemistry. ADX71441 dose-dependently decreased alcohol self-administration of both dependent and non-dependent animals, but its potency was higher in alcohol-dependent rats. Furthermore, both cue-and stress-induced alcohol seeking were blocked by the GABA(B) receptor positive allosteric modulator. Finally, pretreatment with 3 mg/kg of ADX71441 before stress-induced reinstatement significantly decreased c-Fos expression in a network of brain regions implicated in stress-induced relapse, comprising the nucleus accumbens shell, the dorsal raphe nucleus and the medial prefrontal cortex. Our findings support a causal role of GABAB receptors in alcohol reinforcement and relapse to alcohol seeking. These effects are observed in the absence of significant sedative side effects. Jointly, these observations indicate that GABAB receptor positive allosteric modulators merit being tested clinically for the treatment of alcoholism. Our data also point to a potential biomarker of target engagement for early clinical studies.

  • 3.
    Augier, Eric
    et al.
    Linköping University, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience (CSAN). Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Dulman, Russell S.
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Rauffenbart, Caroline
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Augier, Gaelle
    Linköping University, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience (CSAN). Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Cross, Alan J.
    AstraZeneca Neurosci, MA USA.
    Heilig, Markus
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience (CSAN). Region Östergötland, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Psychiatry.
    The mGluR2 Positive Allosteric Modulator, AZD8529, and Cue-Induced Relapse to Alcohol Seeking in Rats2016In: Neuropsychopharmacology, ISSN 0893-133X, E-ISSN 1740-634X, Vol. 41, no 12, p. 2932-2940Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR2 and mGluR3) may control relapse of alcohol seeking, but previously available Group II agonists were unable to discriminate between mGluR2 and mGluR3. Here we use AZD8529, a novel positive allosteric mGluR2 modulator, to determine the role of this receptor for alcohol-related behaviors in rats. We assessed the effects of AZD8529 (20 and 40 mg/kg s.c.) on male Wistar rats trained to self-administer 20% alcohol and determined the effects of AZD8529 on self-administration, as well as stress-induced and cue-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking. The on-target nature of findings was evaluated in Indiana P-rats, a line recently shown to carry a mutation that disrupts the gene encoding mGluR2. The behavioral specificity of AZD8529 was assessed using self-administration of 0.2% saccharin and locomotor activity tests. AZD8529 marginally decreased alcohol self-administration at doses that neither affected 0.2% saccharin self-administration nor locomotor activity. More importantly, cue- but not stress-induced alcohol seeking was blocked by the mGluR2 positive allosteric modulator. This effect of AZD8529 was completely absent in P rats lacking functional mGluR2s, demonstrating the receptor specificity of this effect. Our findings provide evidence fora causal role of mGluR2 in cue induced relapse to alcohol seeking. They contribute support for the notion that positive allosteric modulators of mGluR2 block relapse-like behavior across different drug categories.

  • 4.
    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.
    Dulman, Russell S.
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, USA.
    Singley, Erick
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, USA.
    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 Method for Evaluating the Reinforcing Properties of Ethanol in Rats without Water Deprivation, Saccharin Fading or Extended Access Training2017In: Journal of Visualized Experiments, ISSN 1940-087X, E-ISSN 1940-087X, no 119, article id e53305Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Operant oral self-administration methods are commonly used to study the reinforcing properties of ethanol in animals. However, the standard methods require saccharin/sucrose fading, water deprivation and/or extended training to initiate operant responding in rats. This paper describes a novel and efficient method to quickly initiate operant responding for ethanol that is convenient for experimenters and does not require water deprivation or saccharin/sucrose fading, thus eliminating the potential confound of using sweeteners in ethanol operant self-administration studies. With this method, Wistar rats typically acquire and maintain self-administration of a 20% ethanol solution in less than two weeks of training. Furthermore, blood ethanol concentrations and rewards are positively correlated for a 30 min self-administration session. Moreover, naltrexone, an FDA-approved medication for alcohol dependence that has been shown to suppress ethanol self-administration in rodents, dose-dependently decreases alcohol intake and motivation to consume alcohol for rats self-administering 20% ethanol, thus validating the use of this new method to study the reinforcing properties of alcohol in rats.

  • 5.
    Barbier, Estelle
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Johnstone, A. L.
    University of Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Khomtchouk, B. B.
    University of Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Tapocik, J. D.
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Pitcairn, C.
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Rehman, F.
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Borich, A.
    NIAAA, MD USA.
    Schank, J. R.
    University of Georgia, GA 30602 USA.
    Rienas, C. A.
    University of Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Van Booven, D. J.
    University of Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    Sun, H.
    NIAAA, MD 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.
    Wahlestedt, C.
    University of Miami, FL 33136 USA; University of Miami, FL 33136 USA.
    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. NIAAA, MD USA.
    Dependence-induced increase of alcohol self-administration and compulsive drinking mediated by the histone methyltransferase PRDM22017In: Molecular Psychiatry, ISSN 1359-4184, E-ISSN 1476-5578, Vol. 22, no 12, p. 1746-1758Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Epigenetic processes have been implicated in the pathophysiology of alcohol dependence, but the specific molecular mechanisms mediating dependence-induced neuroadaptations remain largely unknown. Here, we found that a history of alcohol dependence persistently decreased the expression of Prdm2, a histone methyltransferase that monomethylates histone 3 at the lysine 9 residue (H3K9me1), in the rat dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). Downregulation of Prdm2 was associated with decreased H3K9me1, supporting that changes in Prdm2 mRNA levels affected its activity. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by massively parallel DNA sequencing showed that genes involved in synaptic communication are epigenetically regulated by H3K9me1 in dependent rats. In non-dependent rats, viral-vector-mediated knockdown of Prdm2 in the dmPFC resulted in expression changes similar to those observed following a history of alcohol dependence. Prdm2 knockdown resulted in increased alcohol self-administration, increased aversion-resistant alcohol intake and enhanced stress-induced relapse to alcohol seeking, a phenocopy of postdependent rats. Collectively, these results identify a novel epigenetic mechanism that contributes to the development of alcohol-seeking behavior following a history of dependence.

  • 6.
    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.

  • 7.
    Heilig, Markus
    et al.
    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.
    Augier, Eric
    Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
    Pfarr, Simone
    Cent Inst Mental Hlth, Germany.
    Sommer, Wolfgang H.
    Cent Inst Mental Hlth, Germany; Cent Inst Mental Hlth, Germany.
    Developing neuroscience-based treatments for alcohol addiction: A matter of choice?2019In: Translational Psychiatry, ISSN 2158-3188, E-ISSN 2158-3188, Vol. 9, article id 255Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Excessive alcohol use is the cause of an ongoing public health crisis, and accounts for -5% of global disease burden. A minority of people with recreational alcohol use develop alcohol addiction (hereafter equated with "alcohol dependence" or simply "alcoholism"), a condition characterized by a systematically biased choice preference for alcohol at the expense of healthy rewards, and continued use despite adverse consequences ("compulsivity"). Alcoholism is arguably the most pressing area of unmet medical needs in psychiatry, with only a small fraction of patients receiving effective, evidence-based treatments. Medications currently approved for the treatment of alcoholism have small effect sizes, and their clinical uptake is negligible. No mechanistically new medications have been approved since 2004, and promising preclinical results have failed to translate into novel treatments. This has contributed to a reemerging debate whether and to what extent alcohol addiction represents a medical condition, or reflects maladaptive choices without an underlying brain pathology. Here, we review this landscape, and discuss the challenges, lessons learned, and opportunities to retool drug development in this important therapeutic area.

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