The molecular mechanisms underlying the neuronal signaling changes in alcohol addiction and withdrawal are complex and multifaceted. The cortico-striatal circuit is highly implicated in these processes, and the striatum plays a significant role not only in the early stages of addiction, but in the developed-addictive state as well, including withdrawal symptoms. Transcriptional analysis is a useful method for determining changes in gene expression, however, the results do not always accurately correlate with protein levels. In this study, we employ label-free proteomic analysis to determine changes in protein expression within the striatum during chronic ethanol use and early withdrawal. The striatum, composed primarily of medium spiny GABAergic neurons, glutamatergic and dopaminergic nerve terminals and astrocytes, is relatively homogeneous for proteomic analysis. We were able to analyze more than 5000 proteins from both the dorsal (caudate and putamen) and ventral (nucleus accumbens) striatum and identified significant changes following chronic intermittent ethanol exposure and acute (8 h) withdrawal compared to ethanol naïve and ethanol exposure groups respectively. Our results showed significant changes in proteins involved in glutamate and opioid peptide signaling, and also uncovered novel pathways including mitochondrial function and lipid/cholesterol metabolism, as revealed by changes in electron transport chain proteins and RXR activation pathways. These results will be useful in the development of novel treatments for alcohol withdrawal and thereby aid in recovery from alcohol use disorder.
- Chronic intermittent ethanol
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience