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Impaired brain activity in rats with family history of alcohol abuse

July 29, 2019

Neural activity that reflects the intention to drink alcohol is observed in the prefrontal cortex and is blunted in rats with a family history of excessive drinking, according to research from eNeuro. This insight could lead to novel treatments for alcohol use disorders.

The prefrontal cortex is a brain region involved in decision-making that becomes active before a behavior is initiated, indicating intention. David Linsenbardt, Nicholas Timme, and Christopher Lapish at Indiana University ? Purdue University Indianapolis investigated neural activity in the prefrontal cortex to determine if it encodes the intention to consume alcohol.

Linsenbardt's team compared activity before and during alcohol consumption in two types of rats. One modeled a family history of alcohol abuse, while the other lacked this family history. The prefrontal cortex was active during consumption in both types of rats, but only active pre-consumption in the rats without a family history of drinking.

These findings suggest that the prefrontal cortex directly encodes the intention to consume alcohol but less so in those with greater risk of abusing alcohol. Restoring prefrontal cortex activity in individuals with a predisposition to over-drink could be a new approach for treating alcohol use disorders.
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Manuscript title*: Encoding of the Intent to Drink Alcohol by the Prefrontal Cortex is Blunted in Rats with a Family History of Excessive Drinking

*A preprint of the manuscript is available on bioRxiv

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About eNeuro

eNeuro, the Society for Neuroscience's open-access journal launched in 2014, publishes rigorous neuroscience research with double-blind peer review that masks the identity of both the authors and reviewers, minimizing the potential for implicit biases. eNeuro is distinguished by a broader scope and balanced perspective achieved by publishing negative results, failure to replicate or replication studies. New research, computational neuroscience, theories and methods are also published.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

Society for Neuroscience

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