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A molecular mechanism for choosing alcohol over an alternative reward

“Only” about 10 to 15% of people exposed to alcohol develop alcohol-related problems. The behavioral repertoire of people confronted with opportunities to consume alcohol involves numerous choices between this drug reward and healthy alternatives. Augier et al. established a choice procedure that begins to address alcohol addiction in rats (see the Perspective by Spanagel). They found that a minority of outbred rats continued to self-administer alcohol even when a high-value alternative (such as sugar) was available. That minority displayed a remarkable constellation of behavioral traits resembling the human clinical condition, including a high motivation to obtain alcohol and continued use despite adverse consequences. The cause was impaired GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) clearance in the central amygdala. Postmortem tissue analysis supported the possibility of a similar pathology in human alcoholism. Science , this issue p. [1321][1]; see also p. [1298][2] [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aao1157 [2]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aau0668

Authors:   Eric Augier; Estelle Barbier; Russell S. Dulman; Valentina Licheri; Gaëlle Augier; Esi Domi; Riccardo Barchiesi; Sean Farris; Daniel Nätt; R. Dayne Mayfield; Louise Adermark; Markus Heilig
Journal:   Science
Volume:   360
edition:   6395
Year:   2018
Pages:   1321
DOI:   10.1126/science.aao1157
Publication date:   22-Jun-2018
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