Zeitschrift für Alkoholismus und Drogenabhängigkeit

Zeitschrift für Alkoholismus und Drogenabhängigkeit
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ISSN: 2329-6488


Astrocyte Function in Alcohol Reward and Addiction

Louise Adermark

Glial cells, particularly astrocytes, play essential roles in the regulation of neurotransmission, metabolism, and supply of energy substrates for synaptic transmission. One astrocyte can receive inputs from several hundreds of synapses, and synchronized neuronal activity correlates with astrocyte calcium signaling. Astrocyte pathology is a common feature of ethanol exposure in both humans and animal models, and brief alcohol intake is sufficient to cause long-lasting changes in astrocyte gene expression, activity and proliferation. Recent research also suggests that astrocytes shape the rewarding sensation of ethanol, and might be involved in modulating alcohol consumption. Considering the role of astrocytes in regulating glutamate homeostasis, a crucial component of alcohol abuse disorders, the astrocyte might be an important target for the development of new pharmacological treatments of alcoholism.