Alcohol and violence: neuropeptidergic modulation of monoamine systems.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

PubMedID: 26285061

Miczek KA, DeBold JF, Hwa LS, Newman EL, de Almeida RM. Alcohol and violence: neuropeptidergic modulation of monoamine systems. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2015;.
Neurobiological processes underlying the epidemiologically established link between alcohol and several types of social, aggressive, and violent behavior remain poorly understood. Acute low doses of alcohol, as well as withdrawal from long-term alcohol use, may lead to escalated aggressive behavior in a subset of individuals. An urgent task will be to disentangle the host of interacting genetic and environmental risk factors in individuals who are predisposed to engage in escalated aggressive behavior. The modulation of 5-hydroxytryptamine impulse flow by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate, acting via distinct ionotropic and metabotropic receptor subtypes in the dorsal raphe nucleus during alcohol consumption, is of critical significance in the suppression and escalation of aggressive behavior. In anticipation and reaction to aggressive behavior, neuropeptides such as corticotropin-releasing factor, neuropeptide Y, opioid peptides, and vasopressin interact with monoamines, GABA, and glutamate to attenuate and amplify aggressive behavior in alcohol-consuming individuals. These neuromodulators represent novel molecular targets for intervention that await clinical validation. Intermittent episodes of brief social defeat during aggressive confrontations are sufficient to cause long-lasting neuroadaptations that can lead to the escalation of alcohol consumption.