Regulation of Anxiety and Alcohol Drinking Behavior by Neuropeptide Y and Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone in the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala
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Peña, Adrian I.
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The rising consumption of alcohol in Western societies and subsequent alcoholrelated life problems that develop has been labeled a major health and social issue. Finding an effective treatment for alcohol dependence has been faced with difficulty, as this is a complex phenomenon that has its roots in a variety of factors. Anxiety and stress have a strong correlation with alcohol intake behavior, and cyclic bouts of alcohol drinking and withdrawal lead to enhanced anxiety reactivity. Recently, two neuromodulators have been implicated in the regulation of anxiety and ensuing alcohol intake: neuropeptide Y (NPY) and corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) both of which exert their effects on the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), a structure implicated in anxiety disorders. This review examines how these two neuromodulators interact, the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which they exert their effects, how these mechanisms affect neuronal excitability within the CeA, and how ethanol relates to both NPY and CRH which will hopefully answer questions with regards to the neurophysiology of alcohol intake behavior.