The role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in alcohol-related behaviors

C. N. Miller, H. M. Kamens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Alcohol use disorder (AUD) causes an alarming economic and health burden in the United States. Unfortunately, this disease does not exist in isolation; AUD is highly comorbid with nicotine use. Results from both human and animal models demonstrate a genetic correlation between alcohol and nicotine behaviors. These data support the idea of shared genetic and neural mechanisms underlying these behaviors. Nicotine acts directly at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) to have its pharmacological effect. Interestingly, alcohol also acts both directly and indirectly at these receptors. Research utilizing genetically engineered rodents and pharmacological manipulations suggest a role for nAChR in several ethanol behaviors. The current manuscript collates this literature and discusses findings that implicate specific nAChR subunits in ethanol phenotypes. These data suggest future directions for targeting nAChR as novel therapeutics for AUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
StatePublished - Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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