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      Alcohol use disorder and sleep disturbances: a feed-forward allostatic framework

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      Neuropsychopharmacology

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          The development of alcohol use disorder (AUD) involves binge or heavy drinking to high levels of intoxication that leads to compulsive intake, the loss of control in limiting intake, and a negative emotional state when alcohol is removed. This cascade of events occurs over an extended period within a three-stage cycle: binge/intoxication, withdrawal/negative affect, and preoccupation/anticipation. These three heuristic stages map onto the dysregulation of functional domains of incentive salience/habits, negative emotional states, and executive function, mediated by the basal ganglia, extended amygdala, and frontal cortex, respectively. Sleep disturbances, alterations of sleep architecture, and the development of insomnia are ubiquitous in AUD and also map onto the three stages of the addiction cycle. During the binge/intoxication stage, alcohol intoxication leads to a faster sleep onset, but sleep quality is poor relative to nights when no alcohol is consumed. The reduction of sleep onset latency and increase in wakefulness later in the night may be related to the acute effects of alcohol on GABAergic systems that are associated with sleep regulation and the effects on brain incentive salience systems, such as dopamine. During the withdrawal/negative affect stage, there is a decrease in slow-wave sleep and some limited recovery in REM sleep when individuals with AUD stop drinking. Limited recovery of sleep disturbances is seen in AUD within the first 30 days of abstinence. The effects of withdrawal on sleep may be related to the loss of alcohol as a positive allosteric modulator of GABAA receptors, a decrease in dopamine function, and the overactivation of stress neuromodulators, including hypocretin/orexin, norepinephrine, corticotropin-releasing factor, and cytokines. During the preoccupation/anticipation stage, individuals with AUD who are abstinent long-term present persistent sleep disturbances, including a longer latency to fall asleep, more time awake during the night, a decrease in slow-wave sleep, decreases in delta electroencephalogram power and evoked delta activity, and an increase in REM sleep. Glutamatergic system dysregulation that is observed in AUD is a likely substrate for some of these persistent sleep disturbances. Sleep pathology contributes to AUD pathology, and vice versa, possibly as a feed-forward drive to an unrecognized allostatic load that drives the addiction process.

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          Most cited references 231

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          Reduced number of hypocretin neurons in human narcolepsy.

          Murine and canine narcolepsy can be caused by mutations of the hypocretin (Hcrt) (orexin) precursor or Hcrt receptor genes. In contrast to these animal models, most human narcolepsy is not familial, is discordant in identical twins, and has not been linked to mutations of the Hcrt system. Thus, the cause of human narcolepsy remains unknown. Here we show that human narcoleptics have an 85%-95% reduction in the number of Hcrt neurons. Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons, which are intermixed with Hcrt cells in the normal brain, are not reduced in number, indicating that cell loss is relatively specific for Hcrt neurons. The presence of gliosis in the hypocretin cell region is consistent with a degenerative process being the cause of the Hcrt cell loss in narcolepsy.
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            A mutation in a case of early onset narcolepsy and a generalized absence of hypocretin peptides in human narcoleptic brains.

            We explored the role of hypocretins in human narcolepsy through histopathology of six narcolepsy brains and mutation screening of Hcrt, Hcrtr1 and Hcrtr2 in 74 patients of various human leukocyte antigen and family history status. One Hcrt mutation, impairing peptide trafficking and processing, was found in a single case with early onset narcolepsy. In situ hybridization of the perifornical area and peptide radioimmunoassays indicated global loss of hypocretins, without gliosis or signs of inflammation in all human cases examined. Although hypocretin loci do not contribute significantly to genetic predisposition, most cases of human narcolepsy are associated with a deficient hypocretin system.
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              Addiction and the brain antireward system.

              A neurobiological model of the brain emotional systems has been proposed to explain the persistent changes in motivation that are associated with vulnerability to relapse in addiction, and this model may generalize to other psychopathology associated with dysregulated motivational systems. In this framework, addiction is conceptualized as a cycle of decreased function of brain reward systems and recruitment of antireward systems that progressively worsen, resulting in the compulsive use of drugs. Counteradaptive processes, such as opponent process, that are part of the normal homeostatic limitation of reward function fail to return within the normal homeostatic range and are hypothesized to repeatedly drive the allostatic state. Excessive drug taking thus results in not only the short-term amelioration of the reward deficit but also suppression of the antireward system. However, in the long term, there is worsening of the underlying neurochemical dysregulations that ultimately form an allostatic state (decreased dopamine and opioid peptide function, increased corticotropin-releasing factor activity). This allostatic state is hypothesized to be reflected in a chronic deviation of reward set point that is fueled not only by dysregulation of reward circuits per se but also by recruitment of brain and hormonal stress responses. Vulnerability to addiction may involve genetic comorbidity and developmental factors at the molecular, cellular, or neurocircuitry levels that sensitize the brain antireward systems.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neuropsychopharmacology
                Neuropsychopharmacol.
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0893-133X
                1740-634X
                June 24 2019
                Article
                10.1038/s41386-019-0446-0
                6879503
                31234199
                © 2019

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