Morud J, Ashouri A, Larsson E, Ericson M, Söderpalm B
PLoS ONE 12 (7) e0181084 [2017-07-17; online 2017-07-17]
Alcohol use disorder is a chronic relapsing brain disorder and a global health issue. Prolonged high alcohol consumption increases the risk for dependence development, a complex state that includes progressive alterations in brain function. The molecular mechanisms behind these changes remain to be fully disclosed, but several genes show altered expression in various regions of the rat brain even after modest alcohol exposure. The present study utilizes whole-transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) to investigate expression changes in the brain nucleus accumbens (NAc), an area of particular interest in addictive disorders, of alcohol consuming rats. The impact on gene expression after eight weeks of moderate voluntary alcohol consumption or voluntary consumption combined with forced excessive exposure was explored in two separate experiments. The results point to a lack of strong and consistent expression alterations in the NAc after alcohol exposure, suggesting that transcriptional effects of alcohol are weak or transient, or occur primarily in brain regions other than NAc.