Alcohol drinking during adolescence is associated in adulthood with increased rate of alcohol dependence. In this article, experiments were designed to determine the effects of periadolescent alcohol drinking on the reinforcing properties of ethanol (EtOH) within the posterior ventral tegmental area (pVTA) and the ability of EtOH microinjected into the pVTA to stimulate dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens shell (AcbSh). The results indicate that rats that consumed EtOH during adolescence were more sensitive to its reinforcing effects (a lower concentration of EtOH supported self-administration), and the ability of EtOH microinjected into the pVTA to stimulate dopamine (DA) release in the AcbSh was enhanced. The data indicate that EtOH consumption during adolescence altered the mesolimbic DA system to be more sensitive and responsive to EtOH. This increase in the response to EtOH within the mesolimbic DA could be part of biologic sequelae that are the basis for the deleterious effects of adolescent alcohol consumption.
See article at J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2014, 351:317–326.
- Copyright © 2014 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics