• Tonic Currents;
  • Ethanol;
  • Amygdala;
  • CRF

The central amygdala (CeA) has a unique role in integrating stress and the rewarding effects of ethanol (EtOH) and plays a major role in the development of EtOH dependence via signaling of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). A recent report by Herman and colleagues (2013) entitled “Novel Subunit-Specific Tonic GABA Currents and Differential Effects of Ethanol in the Central Amygdala of CRF Receptor-1 Reporter Mice” is the first study to investigate inhibitory tonic currents in relation to CRF signaling in the CeA. The findings of that study significantly enhance our understanding of inhibitory tonic currents in the CeA and give insight into how EtOH may differentially affect CRF signaling within the CeA, leading to the development of EtOH dependence. This commentary will focus on the recent findings of Herman and colleagues and will discuss the effects of EtOH on the entire anxiety/emotion circuitry.