Study Points to NK1R Blocker as Possible Alcoholism Treatment
Neurokinin-1 receptors (NK1R) are highly expressed in brain areas involved in stress responses and drug reward. In recent years, mounting research evidence has suggested that they may help regulate important aspects of alcohol use. In a new study, researchers at the NIAAA report that a compound that blocks NK1R suppresses alcohol drinking in mice. NIAAA Clinical Director Markus Heilig, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the NIAAA Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies also showed that mice that lack the gene for NK1R have a lower preference for alcohol than do normal mice, and score lower on measures of alcohol reward, a key aspect of its addictive effects. Taken together, the data from the new study supports further investigation of NK1R blockade as a potential treatment for alcoholism.