Homer2 and alcohol: A mutual interaction

Valentina Castelli, Anna Brancato, Angela Cavallaro, Gianluca Lavanco, Carla Cannizzaro
Front. Psychiatry. 2017-11-30; 8:
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00268

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The past two decades of data derived from addicted individuals and preclinical
animal models of addiction implicate a role for the excitatory glutamatergic
transmission within the mesolimbic structures in alcoholism. The cellular
localization of the glutamatergic receptor subtypes, as well as their signaling
efficiency and function, are highly dependent upon discrete functional
constituents of the postsynaptic density, including the Homer family of
scaffolding proteins. The consequences of repeated alcohol administration on the
expression of the Homer family proteins demonstrate a crucial and active role,
particularly for the expression of Homer2 isoform, in regulating alcohol-induced
behavioral and cellular neuroplasticity. The interaction between Homer2 and
alcohol can be defined as a mutual relation: alcohol consumption enhances the
expression of Homer2 protein isoform within the nucleus accumbens and the
extended amygdala, cerebral areas where, in turn, Homer2 is able to mediate the
development of the “pro-alcoholic” behavioral phenotype, as a consequence of the
morpho-functional synaptic adaptations. Such findings are relevant for the
detection of the strategic molecular components that prompt alcohol-induced
functional and behavioral disarrangement as targets for future innovative
treatment options.


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