Enhanced and Delayed Stress-Induced Alcohol Drinking in Mice Lacking Functional CRH1 Receptors

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Science  03 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5569, pp. 931-933
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069836

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There is a relation between stress and alcohol drinking. We show that the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) system that mediates endocrine and behavioral responses to stress plays a role in the control of long-term alcohol drinking. In mice lacking a functional CRH1 receptor, stress leads to enhanced and progressively increasing alcohol intake. The effect of repeated stress on alcohol drinking behavior appeared with a delay and persisted throughout life. It was associated with an up-regulation of theN-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit NR2B. Alterations in the CRH1 receptor gene and adaptional changes in NR2B subunits may constitute a genetic risk factor for stress-induced alcohol drinking and alcoholism.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: sillaber{at}

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