WASHINGTON (TIP): Researchers have identified and deactivated a brain pathway linked to cravings for alcohol in rats, a finding that could lead to treatment for alcohol abuse. Scientists at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at University of California, San Francisco, were able to prevent the addicted animals from seeking alcohol and drinking it, the equivalent of relapse.
“One of the main causes of relapse is craving, triggered by the memory by certain cues ,” said lead author Segev Barak. The researchers found that just a small drop of alcohol presented to the rats turned on the mTORC1 pathway. The researchers then set out to see if they could prevent reconsolidation of memory of alcohol by inhibiting mTORC1, thus preventing relapse . When mTORC1 was inactivated , there was no relapse to alcohol-seeking next day.