We propose a series of translational studies using in vivo magnetic resonance (MR) neuroimaging and spectroscopy applied across rats and humans and monkeys by a collaboration between INIA-West and INIA-Stress. The goal is to identify and explicate changes in brain morphology, neurocircuitry, and metabolism during the development and maintenance of alcohol dependence. Exploratory studies will include correlation of in vivo MR data with postmortem histological analyses in collaboration with other INIA-West sites.
Specific Aim 1 : Rat Model of Dependence-Induced Drinking and Neuroadaptation. A primary INIA animal model of high alcohol consumption is withdrawal induced-drinking demonstrated with repeated high dose binge exposure, analogous to the chronic intermittent ethanol (CIE) paradigm. The progression of brain circuitry change over the course of repeated exposure-withdrawal cycles will be demonstrable with functional neuroimaging and a change in the pattern of choline and glutamate levels.
Specific Aim 2 : Rat-Monkey-Human Translation of High Doses of Chronic Alcohol: Brain Structure and Intrinsic Neural Connectivity. We propose parallel studies in chronic alcoholics and chronically-exposed animals using analogous neuroimaging probes: structural morphometry (MRI) and fcMRI from nodes pertinent to the maintenance of alcohol dependence-""""""""withdrawal/negative affect"""""""" circuitry. We will use a longitudinal design, and a common analysis to be conducted across species: rat, monkey, and human.
Specific Aim 3 : Rat-Monkey-Human Translation of High Doses of Chronic Alcohol: Brain Metabolites. In vivo MR spectroscopy (MRS) studies report abnormally high choline soon after alcohol withdrawal in human alcoholics and rats chronically exposed to alcohol and in rats with single binge exposures. High glutamate occurs with high chronic alcohol exposure. As potential markers of dependence, we will model this pattern of metabolite changes in collaboration with INIA-Stress and propose parallel rat, monkey, and human studies using a common MRS acquisition and analysis tuned specifically to detect glutamate. The proposed research conceptually casts some alcoholic brain damage as a disorder of neuroconnectivity with structural and functional concomitants with bidirectional translation from humans to animal models and back to humans. We bring forth a paradigm shift from observing the brain's responsivity to external demands to investigating the brain's ongoing intrinsic activity as a concept for explicating the deleterious effects of chronic alcoholism on the brain.

Public Health Relevance

Neuroadaptation is the process by which continued consumption of alcohol, initially rewarding, is replaced by withdrawal/negative affect and ultimately dependence, a condition with serious public health consequences. Processes involved in the transition from reversible to sustained changes are unknown but our proposed work will translate findings from rats and monkeys to humans to enable a mechanistic understanding of the development of dependence.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1-DD (50))
Program Officer
Matochik, John A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Sri International
Menlo Park
United States
Zip Code
Park, Jae Mo; Josan, Sonal; Jang, Taichang et al. (2016) Volumetric spiral chemical shift imaging of hyperpolarized [2-(13) c]pyruvate in a rat c6 glioma model. Magn Reson Med 75:973-84
Park, Jae Mo; Spielman, Daniel M; Josan, Sonal et al. (2016) Hyperpolarized (13)C-lactate to (13)C-bicarbonate ratio as a biomarker for monitoring the acute response of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) treatment. NMR Biomed 29:650-9
Zahr, Natalie M; Sullivan, Edith V; Rohlfing, Torsten et al. (2016) Concomitants of alcoholism: differential effects of thiamine deficiency, liver damage, and food deprivation on the rat brain in vivo. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 233:2675-86
Zahr, Natalie M; Rohlfing, Torsten; Mayer, Dirk et al. (2016) Transient CNS responses to repeated binge ethanol treatment. Addict Biol 21:1199-1216
Cui, Changhai; Noronha, Antonio; Warren, Kenneth R et al. (2015) Brain pathways to recovery from alcohol dependence. Alcohol 49:435-52
Park, Jae Mo; Josan, Sonal; Mayer, Dirk et al. (2015) Hyperpolarized 13C NMR observation of lactate kinetics in skeletal muscle. J Exp Biol 218:3308-18
Pfefferbaum, Adolf; Zahr, Natalie M; Mayer, Dirk et al. (2015) Dynamic responses of selective brain white matter fiber tracts to binge alcohol and recovery in the rat. PLoS One 10:e0124885
Pfefferbaum, Adolf; Sullivan, Edith V (2015) Cross-sectional versus longitudinal estimates of age-related changes in the adult brain: overlaps and discrepancies. Neurobiol Aging 36:2563-7
Josan, Sonal; Billingsley, Kelvin; Orduna, Juan et al. (2015) Assessing inflammatory liver injury in an acute CCl4 model using dynamic 3D metabolic imaging of hyperpolarized [1-(13)C]pyruvate. NMR Biomed 28:1671-7
Nichols, B Nolan; Pohl, Kilian M (2015) Neuroinformatics Software Applications Supporting Electronic Data Capture, Management, and Sharing for the Neuroimaging Community. Neuropsychol Rev 25:356-68

Showing the most recent 10 out of 49 publications