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Molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol-drinking behaviours


The main characteristic of alcohol use disorder is the consumption of large quantities of alcohol despite the negative consequences. The transition from the moderate use of alcohol to excessive, uncontrolled alcohol consumption results from neuroadaptations that cause aberrant motivational learning and memory processes. Here, we examine studies that have combined molecular and behavioural approaches in rodents to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that keep the social intake of alcohol in check, which we term 'stop pathways', and the neuroadaptations that underlie the transition from moderate to uncontrolled, excessive alcohol intake, which we term 'go pathways'. We also discuss post-transcriptional, genetic and epigenetic alterations that underlie both types of pathways.

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