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Cholinergic Interneurons in the Accumbal Shell Region Regulate Binge Alcohol Self-Administration in Mice: An In Vivo Calcium Imaging Study

Brain Sciences

Authors: Rishi Sharma, Abigail Chischolm, Meet Parikh, Deepak Kempuraj, Mahesh Thakkar
Publication: Brain Sciences
Date: May 10, 2024
Link to article: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/14/5/484


Recently, we and others have shown that manipulating the activity of cholinergic interneurons (CIN) present in the NAc can modulate binge alcohol consumption. The present study is designed to examine the relationship between binge alcohol consumption and the activity of the CIN in real time by using an in vivo microendoscopic technique. We hypothesized that mice exposed to Drinking in the Dark (DID)—a recognized mouse model for binge drinking—would exhibit increased activity in the accumbal shell region (NAcSh). To test this hypothesis, male mice expressing Cre-recombinase in the cholinergic neurons were exposed to binge alcohol consumption (alcohol group), employing the DID method, and utilized in vivo calcium imaging to observe CIN activity in real time during alcohol consumption. The control (sucrose) group was exposed to 10% (w/v) sucrose. As compared to sucrose, mice in the alcohol group displayed a significant increase in the frequency and amplitude of discharge activity, which was measured using calcium transients in the CIN present in the NAcSh. In summary, our findings suggest that the activity of CIN in the NAcSh plays a crucial role in alcohol self-administration. These results emphasize the potential significance of targeting CIN activity as a therapeutic approach for addressing AUD.

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