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Brain region specific glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors regulate alcohol-induced behaviors in rodents.

Journal article
Authors Daniel Vallöf
Aimilia Lydia Kalafateli
Elisabeth Jerlhag
Published in Psychoneuroendocrinology
Volume 103
Pages 284-295
ISSN 0306-4530
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Pages 284-295
Language en
Subject categories Neurobiology, Neuroscience


Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), an incretin hormone that reduces food intake, was recently established as a novel regulator of alcohol-mediated behaviors. Clinically available analogues pass freely into the brain, but the mechanisms underlying GLP-1-modulated alcohol reward remains largely unclear. GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1R) are expressed throughout the nuclei of importance for acute and chronic effects of alcohol, such as the laterodorsal tegmental area (LDTg), the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the nucleus accumbens (NAc). We therefore evaluated the effects of bilateral infusion of the GLP-1R agonist exendin-4 (Ex4) into NAc shell, anterior (aVTA), posterior (pVTA) or LDTg on the acute alcohol-induced locomotor stimulation and memory of alcohol reward in the conditioned place preference (CPP) model in mice, as well as on alcohol intake in rats consuming high amounts of alcohol for 12 weeks. Ex4 into the NAc shell blocks alcohol-induced locomotor stimulation and memory of alcohol reward as well as decreases alcohol intake. The GLP-1R expression in NAc is elevated in high compared to low alcohol-consuming rats. On the contrary, GLP-1R activation in the aVTA does not modulate alcohol-induced behaviors. Ex4 into the pVTA prevents alcohol-induced locomotor simulation, but does neither modulate CPP-dependent alcohol memory nor alcohol intake. Intra-LDTg-Ex4 attenuates alcohol-induced locomotor stimulation and reduces alcohol intake, but does not affect memory of alcohol reward. Collectively, these data provide additional knowledge of the functional role of GLP-1R in reward-related areas for alcohol-mediated behaviors and further support GLP-1R as a potential treatment target for alcohol use disorder.

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