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Pilot Core

  • Pilot 1: P. Lombroso. The Role of STEP in Mediating the Inhibitory Effects of ETOH
    The goal of this pilot study was to test the hypothesis that STEP mediates the inhibitory effects of ethanol on hippocampal long-term potentiation. Consistent with our hypothesis, STEP knockout mice did not show significant ethanol-induced decease in long-term potentiation as wild type mice did. This enhanced acquisition of instrumental ethanol habit. These results support our hypothesis that STEP is an essential tyrosine phosphatase that mediates at least some of the inhibitory effects of ethanol on NMDA-induced neuroplasticity in the hippocampus. Ongoing experiments are examining the consumption of ethanol by wild-type and STEP knockout mice, as well as acquisition of instrumental ethanol habit.
  • Pilot 2: D. Small. Neurobiological mechanisms of satiety for alcohol consumption
    This pilot study uses a novel paradigm to examine fMRI response to alcohol anticipation and consumption in reward networks following an intravenous alcohol “clamp” that will maintain a steady blood alcohol concentration during scanning. In order to examine alcohol satiety in relationship to familial alcoholism risk, FHP and FHN young adults will be given the opportunity to sip alcohol from a gustometer during fMRI scanning, following the administration of an intoxicating dose of ethanol.
  • Pilot 3: J. Kaufman. Genetic Predictors of Reward-Pathway Activation
    The goal of this pilot study was to examine the role of GABRA2 genotype in moderating reward circuitry activation in children. A multimodal imaging protocol was implemented and included: functional imaging utilizing a reward task adapted for use in young children, resting state connectivity, and structural imaging. Preliminary results indicated increased functional connectivity between the nucleus accumbens and inferior frontal gyrus among children with the cc genotype as compared to those with the tt genotype.