Behavioral Neurophysiology of Ethanol
Annual rept. 1 Jul 2001-30 Jun 2002
ERNEST GALLO CLINIC AND RESEARCH CENTEREMERYVILLE CA
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This research project is designed to further our knowledge on the neural basis of alcohol addiction. Alcohol consumption by humans can be modeled in the rat using operant behavioral procedures in which an arbitrary response, such as a lever press, is reinforced by the presentation of small amounts of orally consumed ethanol solutions this paradigm is termed ethanol self-administration. In the studies in this project simultaneous recording of ensembles of individual neurons during ethanol self-administration is used to determine in real-time the contribution of patterns of neural activity to ongoing alcohol-seeking behavior. The contribution of excitatory and dopaminergic inputs to the alcohol-associated neuronal activity in the accumbens, a brain region that is an integral part of the neural circuitry of addiction, is being tested. Thus far, we have confirmed the feasibility of a reversible inactivation technique used to study the afferents to the accumbens Objective 1, and have begun studies on the effect of abstinence on accumbens neural activity Objective 3. These studies will provide information on how the neurons of the accumbens control alcohol-seeking behavior during times when alcohol is available and during abstinence.