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Keywords:

  • Alcohol Dependence;
  • Alcohol Craving;
  • Appetite;
  • Feeding-Related Pathways;
  • Sweet Preference;
  • Feeding-Related Peptides;
  • Neuropeptide Y;
  • Ghrelin

Converging research evidence suggests that alcohol and food-seeking behaviors share common neural pathways. There is preclinical and clinical evidence linking the consumption of sweets to alcohol intake in both animals and humans. In addition, a growing body of animal and human literature suggests the involvement of “feeding-related” peptides in alcohol-seeking behavior. In particular, both central and peripheral appetitive peptides have shown a possible role in alcohol dependence. The present mini-review will summarize the literature on the link between sweet preference and alcohol dependence, and on the role of feeding-related peptides in alcohol dependence. Specifically, in an attempt to narrow the field, the present mini-review will focus on 2 specific pathways, the central neuropeptide Y and the peripheral gut peptide ghrelin. Although more research is needed, data available suggest that studying feeding-related pathways in alcohol dependence may have theoretic, biologic, diagnostic, and therapeutic implications.