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Role of Feeding-Related Pathways in Alcohol Dependence: A Focus on Sweet Preference, NPY, and Ghrelin

Authors

  • Lorenzo Leggio,

    1. From the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (LL, RMS), Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island; Catholic University of Rome (LL, GA), Rome, Italy; Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies (AC), NIAAA/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland; Section for Pharmacology (EJ), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; and Department of Psychiatry (ABKP), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Giovanni Addolorato,

    1. From the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (LL, RMS), Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island; Catholic University of Rome (LL, GA), Rome, Italy; Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies (AC), NIAAA/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland; Section for Pharmacology (EJ), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; and Department of Psychiatry (ABKP), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Andrea Cippitelli,

    1. From the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (LL, RMS), Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island; Catholic University of Rome (LL, GA), Rome, Italy; Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies (AC), NIAAA/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland; Section for Pharmacology (EJ), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; and Department of Psychiatry (ABKP), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Elisabet Jerlhag,

    1. From the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (LL, RMS), Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island; Catholic University of Rome (LL, GA), Rome, Italy; Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies (AC), NIAAA/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland; Section for Pharmacology (EJ), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; and Department of Psychiatry (ABKP), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Alexei B. Kampov-Polevoy,

    1. From the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (LL, RMS), Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island; Catholic University of Rome (LL, GA), Rome, Italy; Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies (AC), NIAAA/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland; Section for Pharmacology (EJ), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; and Department of Psychiatry (ABKP), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Robert M. Swift

    1. From the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (LL, RMS), Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island; Catholic University of Rome (LL, GA), Rome, Italy; Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies (AC), NIAAA/NIH, Bethesda, Maryland; Section for Pharmacology (EJ), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; and Department of Psychiatry (ABKP), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • The subject of this mini-review has been presented in a symposium held at the Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), June 20 to 24, 2009 (San Diego, CA). Organizer and Chair of the symposium was Lorenzo Leggio. Co-chairs were Giovanni Addolorato and Robert Swift. Introducer was Lorenzo Leggio. Speakers were Alexei Kampov-Polevoy, Andrea Cippitelli, Elisabet Jerlhag, and Lorenzo Leggio. Discussant was Robert Swift.

Reprint requests: Lorenzo Leggio, MD, MSc, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University Medical School, Box G S 121-4, Providence, RI; Tel.: +1 401 863 6638; Fax: +1 401 863 6647; E-mail: lorenzo_leggio@brown.edu

Abstract

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.

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