Somatostatin neurons in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis play a sex-dependent role in binge Drinking

Malini Suresh Nair, Nigel C. Dao, Daniela Lopez Melean, Keith R. Griffith, W. David Starnes, J. Brody Moyer, Avery R. Sicher, Dakota F. Brockway, Kathleen D. Meeks, Nicole A. Crowley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is characterized by alcohol use coupled with chronic relapse and involves brain regions including the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Here, we explore whether a subpopulation of BNST neurons, somatostatin (SST) expressing GABAergic neurons, play a role in an animal model of binge-like alcohol consumption, the Drinking in the Dark (DID) model. Chemogenetic activation of BNST SST neurons reduced binge alcohol consumption in female but not male SST-Cre mice, while inhibition of these neurons in the same mice had no effect. In addition, chemogenetic activation of these neurons did not cause apparent changes in models of anxiety-like behavior in either sex. Basal SST cell counts and intrinsic excitability of SST neurons were compared to attempt to understand sex differences in DREADD-induced changes in drinking, and while males had a greater number of BNST SST neurons, this effect went away when normalizing for total BNST volume. Together, these results suggest SST neurons in the BNST should be further explored as a potential neuronal subtype modulated by AUD, and for their therapeutic potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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