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Monday, March 26, 2007

Downregulation of mu opioid receptor by RNA interference in the ventral tegmental area reduces ethanol consumption in mice

Pharmacological and genetic studies have implicated the mu opioid receptor (MOR) in the regulation of ethanol intake in animal models and humans.

Expression of an shRNA targeting MOR in the VTA led to a significant reduction in ethanol consumption. These results strengthen the hypothesis that MOR in the VTA is one of the key brain substrates mediating alcohol consumption.

The RNAi combined with lentiviral delivery can be used successfully in brain to effect a sustained reduction in expression of specific genes for behavioral analysis.