Forebrain-midbrain Circuits and Peptides Involved in Hyperalgesia After Chronic Alcohol Exposure

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Alcohol Research: Current Reviews


People living with pain report drinking alcohol to relieve pain. Acute alcohol use reduces pain, and chronic alcohol use facilitates the emergence or exaggeration of pain. Recently, funding agencies and neuroscientists involved in basic research have turned their attention to understanding the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie pain-alcohol interactions, with a focus on circuit and molecular mediators of alcohol-induced changes in pain-related behavior. This review briefly discusses some examples of work being done in this area, with a focus on reciprocal projections between the midbrain and extended amygdala, as well as some neurochemical mediators of pain-related phenotypes after alcohol exposure. Finally, as more work accumulates on this topic, the authors highlight the need for the neuroscience field to carefully consider sex and age in the design and analysis of pain-alcohol interaction experiments.