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Effects of ethanol binge drinking and single housing on beta-endorphin levels in the adolescent rat brain and pituitary
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Several genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of alcohol use disorders (AUD). The endogenous opioid system (EOS) is strongly correlated with the development and maintenance of AUD. One of the three major peptides in the EOS is b-endorphin, that binds to m- and d-opioid receptors in the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway, a critical part of the reward system. Very little is known about how ethanol intake and stress in adolescents affect the EOS. Opioid receptor antagonists reduce ethanol intake, but the use of naltrexone in the treatment of AUD is subjected to large individual differences due to both genetics and environmental influences, emphasizing the need of individualized treatments. Aim: To analyze the effect of voluntary ethanol intake and stress on the b-endorphin levels in the brain and pituitary of adolescent rats. Method: Single and group housed adolescent male Wistar rats were subjected to a two-bottle free-choice paradigm with ethanol and water three subsequent days a week for six weeks. The levels of b-endorphin in seven areas of the brain and pituitary were determined by using radioimmunoassay. Results: No difference in ethanol intake was seen between single and group housed animals. An effect of treatment was seen in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland, while an effect of housing was seen in amygdala. Significant interaction effects were seen in both nucleus accumbens and cingulate cortex. Conclusion: The study showed that b-endorphin levels, in areas related to addiction processes, are affected by both ethanol intake and stress induced by single housing. More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between adolescent ethanol intake and the EOS and through knowledge of new targets in the brain, better prevention and treatment strategies can be developed for AUD.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Pharmacology and Toxicology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204748OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-204748DiVA: diva2:639908
Subject / course
Pharmaceutical Pharmacology
Educational program
Master of Science Programme in Pharmacy
Available from: 2013-08-23 Created: 2013-08-11 Last updated: 2013-08-23Bibliographically approved

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