Numerous studies have implicated adaptations in GABA signaling as a major factor in the pathogenesis of alcohol dependence. Despite the established actions of ethanol on inhibitory control and GABAA receptors, little is known about ethanol adaptations in GABAA receptor expression and signaling that occur in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and central amygdala (CeA), interconnected brain regions that are implicated in the development of alcohol dependence. Previous work has demonstrated significant adaptations in GABAA receptor expression in cerebral cortex, cultured cortical neurons and CeA neurons, however the impact of these changes on local microcircuitry and functional connectivity of the mPFC and CeA remain unclear. The overarching goal of this component is to examine the role of GABAA receptor adaptations in overall circuit function of mPFC and CeA following chronic ethanol exposure using electrophysiological, biochemical, and molecular methods. We will further investigate the impact of histone deacetylases (HDACs) as the underlying mechanism governing the GABAA receptor adaptations to determine the utility of HDAC inhibition as a potential therapeutic target to selectively reverse pathological changes in GABAA receptor expression and circuit function. We will also examine the effect of chronic ethanol exposure on functional connectivity between mPFC and CeA using resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Collectively, the proposed studies will delineate molecular and cellular mechanisms of ethanol dependence in local mPFC and amygdalar microcircuits as well as the mPFC projection to amygdalar subregions. These studies may lead to microcircuit-specific molecular targets for reversal of ethanol dependence pathology.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Type
Comprehensive Center (P60)
Project #
5P60AA011605-24
Application #
10078809
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2020-12-01
Budget End
2021-11-30
Support Year
24
Fiscal Year
2021
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Department
Type
DUNS #
608195277
City
Chapel Hill
State
NC
Country
United States
Zip Code
27599
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