Reciprocal midbrain-extended amygdala circuit activity in preclinical models of alcohol use and misuse
Alcohol dependence is characterized by a shift in motivation to consume alcohol from positive reinforcement (i.e., increased likelihood of future alcohol drinking based on its rewarding effects) to negative reinforcement (i.e., increased likelihood of future alcohol drinking based on alcohol-induced reductions in negative affective symptoms, including but not limited to those experienced during alcohol withdrawal). The neural adaptations that occur during this transition are not entirely understood. Mesolimbic reinforcement circuitry (i.e., ventral tegmental area [VTA] neurons) is activated during early stages of alcohol use, and may be involved in the recruitment of brain stress circuitry (i.e., extended amygdala) during the transition to alcohol dependence, after chronic periods of high-dose alcohol exposure. Here, we review the literature regarding the role of canonical brain reinforcement (VTA) and brain stress (extended amygdala) systems, and the connections between them, in acute, sub-chronic, and chronic alcohol response. Particular emphasis is placed on preclinical models of alcohol use.
Avegno, Elizabeth M. and Gilpin, Nicholas W., "Reciprocal midbrain-extended amygdala circuit activity in preclinical models of alcohol use and misuse" (2021). School of Graduate Studies Faculty Publications. 102.