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CTNA-2 Pilot Projects

  • W. Corbin. Effects of Alcohol and Prior Gambling Outcomes on Gambling Behavior.
    This project investigated the influence of alcohol consumption and impulsivity on a computerized gambling task. Participants were 126 individuals, all of whom were moderate to heavy drinkers and regular gamblers. Preliminary results demonstrated that participants bet more during the alcohol condition relative to the placebo condition. This research contributes to the understanding gambling behaviors related to pharmacological and cognitive effects of alcohol, and may help identify risk factors and intervention strategies for individuals with problem drinking and gambling behaviors.
  • S. O’Malley. Targeted Naltrexone for Heavy Alcohol Use in Young Adults.
    This pilot project examined the utility of naltrexone administration in reducing heavy drinking among young adults, which is a population in need of more effective treatment strategies. Participants received naltrexone and behavioral counseling for 8 weeks. Following treatment, participants significantly reduced drinks per drinking day, percentage of heavy drinking days, and alcohol-related consequences. These important findings support the use of naltrexone to reduce heavy drinking in young adults.
  • A. Simen. Epigenetic factors in stress mediated vulnerability to alcohol abuse and dependence.
    This pilot project examined the effects of early life maternal separation or restraint stress on prefrontal cortex gene expression and alcohol preference in mice. The investigators developed a new paradigm involving maternal separation and early weaning to reliably produce behavioral changes indicative of stress in mice.
  • J. Taylor. Analysis of protein expression in a genetic animal model of alcoholism. This pilot project examined differences in protein expression in alcohol preferring rats in order to determine the protein expression changes that correspond to genetic vulnerability. Data have been analyzed for one rat bred to consume large amounts of alcohol and three non-alcohol rats. With this small sample, approximately 20 proteins have been identified as being differentially regulated in the alcohol preferring rat.
  • R. Duman. Gene Expression Profile of Postmortem, Alcohol-dependent Brains.
    This pilot project characterized dorsolateral prefrontal cortex gene expression and the relationship to cellular changes in alcohol dependence. Methodological progress was been made, optimizing collection and analysis of RNA, resulting in a publication on prefrontal cortex gene expression in major depression. Data from alcohol dependent patients are still being analyzed.
  • G. Mason. Evaluation of Alcohol Effects on Glutamate and GABA neurotransmission in FHP and FHN Subjects using [1H] and [13C] MRS.
    This pilot project evaluated changes in brain GABA and glutamate levels and turnover in response to an acute ethanol challenge in family history positive and family history negative healthy adults. This project made significant methodological progress, refining the ethanol clamp procedure for use in the magnet. Using 1H MRS during ethanol infusion, the investigators observed a rise in GABA followed by a return to baseline, as well as a decrease in myo-inositol levels. Data analyses are ongoing.