3 years ago

Oxytocin Reduces Alcohol Cue-Reactivity in Alcohol Dependent Rats and Humans

Falk Kiefer, Valery Grinevich, Roberto Ciccocioppo, Robert C Froemke, Sabine Vollstädt-Klein, Rainer Spanagel, Anne Koopmann, Sina Bühler, Stefanie Uhrig, Wolfgang H Sommer, Eva Kiessling, Anita C Hansson, Esi Domi


Approved pharmacological treatments for alcohol use disorder are limited in their effectiveness, and new drugs that can easily be translated into the clinic are warranted. One of those candidates is oxytocin because of its interaction with several alcohol-induced effects. Alcohol dependent rats as well as postmortem brains of human alcoholics and controls were analyzed for the expression of the oxytocin system by qRT-PCR, in situ hybridization, receptor autoradiography ([125I]-OVTA binding) and immunohistochemistry. Alcohol self-administration and cue-induced reinstatement behavior was measured after intracerebroventricular injection of 10nM oxytocin in dependent rats. Here we show a pronounced up-regulation of oxytocin receptors in brain tissues of alcohol dependent rats and deceased alcoholics, primarily in frontal and striatal areas. This up-regulation stems most likely from reduced oxytocin expression in hypothalamic nuclei. Pharmacological validation showed that oxytocin reduced cue-induced reinstatement response in dependent rats—an effect that was not observed in non-dependent rats. Finally, a clinical pilot study (German clinical trial number DRKS00009253) using functional magnetic resonance imaging in heavy social male drinkers showed that intranasal oxytocin (24IU) decreased neural cue-reactivity in brain networks similar to those detected in dependent rats and humans with increased oxytocin receptor expression. These studies suggest that oxytocin might be used as an anti-craving medication and thus may positively affect treatment outcomes in alcoholics.

Publisher URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/npp2017257

DOI: 10.1038/npp.2017.257

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.