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  • 1.
    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.

  • 2.
    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.

  • 3.
    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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