One of the main ways that alcohol causes health problems is by its actions on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) or "stress" axis. Interestingly, the HPA axes of males and females respond differently to stressors and to drugs like alcohol. The general hypothesis for the research proposed in this grant is that gonadal hormones such as estrogen and testosterone alter neuronal responsiveness to alcohol, resulting in sexually dimorphic HPA axis function. The long- term objective of the work is to elucidate the anatomical and functional neuronal machinery underlying sex- specific HPA responses to alcohol in rats. Increasing our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for sexually dimorphic HPA responses is imperative if gender- specific treatments for medical problems that arise with alcohol use and abuse are to be created. In order to highlight the role of the CNS in HPA activation by alcohol, the proposed experiments will use the relatiactions on the CNS. This model simplifies the study of strictly brain- mediated sex differences in HPA responses to alcohol by obviating the noxious peripheral actions of the drug that feed back to the brain and alter its function in a non-specific manner. Such feedback dramatically increases HPA activity, and tremendously complicates the study of sex differences in HPA responses to alcohol. Studies for Specific Aim 1 will investigate the mechanisms underlying sex differences in HPA- linked neuronal responses to alcohol administration. This work will first focus on identifying specific brain regions responsive to alcohol, involved in the regulation of the HPA axis, and sensitive to gonadal hormones. We will then probe the functional roles of specific gonadal hormones and their receptors in regulating neuronal activation relevant to HPA function. Studies for Specific Aim 2 will investigate the mechanisms by which gonadal steroids and their receptors interact to cause sex- dependent serug has different effects on the two sexes. The purpos of the proposed project is to investigate the basic central nervous system mechanisms that generate potentially harmful, sex- specific responses to alcohol ???formation can then be used to develop sex- related treatments for alcohol- related health problems.

Public Health Relevance

Alcohol use causes detrimental health effects in both men and women. Interestingly, the d???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01AA016947-05
Application #
8243640
Study Section
Neurotoxicology and Alcohol Study Section (NAL)
Program Officer
Grandison, Lindsey
Project Start
2009-04-15
Project End
2014-03-31
Budget Start
2012-04-01
Budget End
2013-03-31
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$230,123
Indirect Cost
$49,321
Name
University of New England
Department
None
Type
Schools of Pharmacy
DUNS #
071735252
City
Biddeford
State
ME
Country
United States
Zip Code
04005