Ethanol stimulates the dopaminergic mesoaccumbal pathway, which is thought to play a role in ethanol reinforcement. Mu (μ)-opioid (MOP) receptors modulate accumbal dopamine activity, but it is not clear whether MOP receptors are involved in the mechanism of ethanol-stimulated accumbal dopamine release.
The data demonstrate the existence of a novel interaction between genotype and sex in the regulation of ethanol-stimulated mesolimbic dopamine release by the MOP receptor. This implies that a more complete understanding of the epistatic influences on the MOP receptor and mesolimbic dopamine function may provide more effective pharmacotherapeutic interventions in the treatment of alcoholism.
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