Current research interests focus on alcoholism, and specidically the regulation and counter-regulation by endogenous modulators of drinking behaviors. A principle feature of the research is to integrate the genomic basis of alcoholism to its physiological and behavioral expression. Experiments in our laboratory demonstrate that one peptide reduces ethanol consumption and ‘binge’ drinking. Regulation of dipeptide levels in the nucleus accumbens, may be one key to the propensity toward addictive behaviors and specifically ethanol addiction. This model is being used to evaluate 1) the endogenous physiology of reward circuitry in the brain, 2) the underlying neuropharmacological and neurocytochemical aberrations related to chronic, preferential alcohol consumption. Prospective studies include PC2 expression and gene array analysis, of meso-limbic and other brain reward regions known to modulate drinking behaviors.
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