This is a competing renewal application for the Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA)- Neuroimmune consortium (Notice# RFA-AA-16-004/005/006) to identify drug targets based on the genomic, cellular, and behavioral neuroadaptations related to excessive alcohol consumption. INIA-Neuroimmune (INIA- N) will address several NIAAA goals, including: 1) understanding the genomics, electrophysiology, and pharmacology of brain immune pathways and their role in alcohol use disorders (AUDs); 2) using new technologies to study neural circuits involved in excessive alcohol drinking; 3) promoting data reproducibility and translation through testing in multiple species (including humans), multiple laboratories, and multiple assays; 4) using emerging computational resources that connect gene networks to drugs to identify compounds with potential to reduce excessive drinking. A key goal for INIA-N is to probe cross-species genomic datasets, together with novel computational approaches, to predict FDA-approved drugs that can be repurposed to treat AUDs. The overall hypothesis for INIA-N is that excessive alcohol consumption causes genetic changes and neuroadaptations in immune-related pathways that are conserved across multiple species (including humans), allowing for the systematic selection and testing of drug targets from the computational to the clinical level. Ten Research Components, two Scientific Cores, and an Administrative Core comprise the consortium. INIA-N will be directed by the Administrative Core in cooperation with the Executive and Steering Committees and guided by a distinguished Scientific Advisory Board. The Administrative Core will provide leadership, oversight of scientific projects, authentication of study drugs, and integration and translation of project data. INIA-N has four goals: 1) Expand our rodent and human genomic studies to include non-human primates (in collaboration with INIA-Stress) and new rodent models, and integrate these with existing datasets. We will also integrate genetic (genome-wide association studies) and genomic analyses (new human RNA-Seq datasets) to facilitate drug target identification, with an emphasis on neuroimmune targets and the unexplored role of novel non-coding RNAs and splice variants in alcohol consumption; 2) Combine extensive genomic resources with new computational approaches to identify candidate drugs that may be repurposed to treat AUDs. These drugs will be tested in several animal drinking models; 3) Apply systems-level approaches (electrophysiology and live brain imaging) to understand how excessive drinking changes brain function, with an emphasis on our top neuroimmune targets; 4) Select leading candidates that emerge from rigorous behavioral and functional testing to study in the new human laboratory component. INIA-N research encompasses a unique `gene network to pharmacotherapy' approach to apply cutting-edge computational tools to nominate gene targets and drugs from our extensive genomic databases and systematically test these candidates in functional and behavioral assays.

Public Health Relevance

INIA-Neuroimmune is a multi-disciplinary, highly collaborative consortium that combines novel genomic and systems-level analyses (such as live brain imaging and human laboratory studies) to identify potential drug treatments for alcohol use disorders. The closely integrated approach using multiple species (including humans) and multiple levels of evaluation, from computational to behavioral, will provide key information about the genomic and biological pathways in alcohol use disorders and identify novel treatment strategies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Resource-Related Research Projects--Cooperative Agreements (U24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1)
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Noronha, Antonio
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University of Texas Austin
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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