Neurocircuitry of Addiction: An Alcohol Perspective
George F. Koob, Ph.D.
Director, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health
A public lecture in the Eric Shullman Distinguished Public Lecture Series
Alcohol and drug addiction is defined as a chronically relapsing disorder of compulsive alcohol and drug seeking that progresses through three stages: binge/intoxication, withdrawal/negative affect, and preoccupation/anticipation. It can be linked to corresponding functional and neurocircuitry domains. Via these stages, addiction impacts multiple motivational mechanisms and can be conceptualized as a disorder that includes elements of both positive and negative reinforcement. Three key neurobiological circuits are engaged in the motivational changes driving addiction that involve dysregulation in incentive salience-reward systems, sensitization of brain stress systems, and deficits in executive function systems. Specific neurocircuitry/neurochemical elements for these functional stages and motivational changes include the basal ganglia (incentive salience-reward deficits such as those involving dopamine), the extended amygdala (recruitment of the brain stress systems such as corticotropin releasing factor and dynorphin), and the prefrontal cortex (executive function deficits such as those involving glutamate). The combination of dysregulated incentive salience-reward function, sensitized stress systems, and disrupted prefrontal executive function provides a powerful motivation
for compulsive alcohol use and the loss of control over alcohol taking. Understanding the neurocircuitry neuroadaptations in the reward, stress, and executive function systems is providing new insights into diagnosis, prevention, and treatment for alcohol addiction.
Live Webcast: http://research.vtc.vt.edu/live-webcast
A public reception will be held in the VTC Cafe from 5 to 5:30 p.m.
Hosted by: Michael J. Friedlander, Ph.D., Executive Director, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute