Stress and Drink

Science's STKE  09 Mar 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 223, pp. tw86-TW86
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2232004TW86

Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is strongly linked to the behavioral changes associated with stress and alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress axis. Stress-induced drinking of alcohol and relapse behavior have a significant genetic component. The basic mechanisms underlying the interactions among stress, brain CRF, and alcohol are not fully understood. Nie et al. found that CRF receptor knockout mice lacked the enhancing effect of CRF and ethanol on GABAergic neurotransmission in the central amygdala, a brain region prominently involved in alcohol dependence and reinforcement. CRF1 antagonists blocked both CRF and ethanol effects in wild-type animals, suggesting a direct role for CRF receptor-mediated processes in the acute effects of ethanol.

Z. Nie, P. Schweitzer, A. J. Roberts, S. G. Madamba, S. D. Moore, G. R. Siggins, Ethanol augments GABAergic transmission in the central amygdala via CRF1 receptors. Science 303, 1512-1514 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]