Overview: Alcohol consumption affects amygdala oscillations differently in male and female mice, especially after repeated exposure.
Alcohol changes synchronized brain activity in the amygdala of mice, but differently for male and female mice, according to new research published in eNeuro†
Alcohol abuse often goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression, and a brain region called the amygdala is involved in both.
Changes in synchronized brain activity, called oscillations, between areas such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex can influence fearful and anxious behavior in both rodents and humans. But how alcohol can influence the amygdala network to change behavior is not known.
DiLeo et al. administered alcohol to mice and measured corresponding changes in oscillatory states in the amygdala.
Alcohol affected amygdala oscillations differently in male and female mice, especially after repeated alcohol administration. In fact, the oscillating state of women did not change at all after repeated alcohol administration.
The researchers repeated the experiment in mice without a subunit of a receptor linked to alcohol consumption and anxiety, which produced features of female network activity in males.
These results indicate that alcohol can activate the amygdala to change its activity state, which can cause changes in anxious and anxious behavior.
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Original research: Closed access.
†Sex differences in the alcohol-mediated modulation of BLA network statesby DiLeo et al. eNeuro
Sex differences in the alcohol-mediated modulation of BLA network states
Alcohol use, reported by 85% of adults in the United States, is highly comorbid with mood disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and major depression.
The basolateral amygdala (BLA) is an area of the brain that is heavily involved in both mood and alcohol use disorders. Importantly, modulation of BLA network/oscillatory states via parvalbumin-positive (PV) GABAergic interneurons control the behavioral expression of fear and anxiety.
Furthermore, PV interneurons bring a high density of -subunit-containing GABA. expressingA receptors (GABAARs), which are sensitive to low alcohol concentrations. Therefore, we hypothesized that the effects of alcohol may modulate BLA network states associated with anxiety and fear behavior via δ-GABAARs on PV interneurons in the BLA.
Considering the impact of ovarian hormones on the expression of -GABAARs, we also examined the ability of alcohol to modulate local field potentials (LFPs) in the BLA of male and female C57BL/6J and Gabriel† mice after acute and repeated exposure to alcohol.
Here we show that acute and repeated alcohol can differentially modulate oscillating states in male and female C57BL/6J mice, a process involving δ-GABA.A
This is the first study to show that alcohol is able to alter the network states involved in both anxiety and alcohol use disorders.