CREB, alcohol, and anxiety

By Kerry Grens



Another quality of the rats interested Subhash Pandey of the University of Illinois at Chicago. "When they drink alcohol," Pandey says, "their anxiety disappears." Pandey wanted to find out what was responsible. He turned to CREB and one of its targets, neuropeptide Y (NPY), a potent, endogenous anxiolytic compound.

Heilig, when he was a postdoc with George Koob at the Scripps Research Institute, had shown that NPY acts in opposition to corticotropin releasing factor, also known as corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH).2 "NPY is an antistress system that basically antagonizes the effects of CRH," Heilig says. NPY is also important in alcohol-drinking behaviors: NPY-deficient mice drink more alcohol, and mice with an overexpression of NPY drink less.3

? Mark Goddard

Because of the amygdala's role in anxiety, Pandey looked at CREB levels there; he found lower levels in the...

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