Besheer Research Team:
Front Row (Left to Right): Maria Masciello, Suzanne Morrow
Second Row (Left to Right): Kristen Fisher, Joyce Besheer, Anel Jaramillo
Third Row (Left to Right): Patrick Randall, Andrew Whang, Reggie Cannady
All drugs of abuse share the common attribute that they produce subjective/interoceptive effects in humans (e.g., the feeling of “drunkenness” or lightheadedness that accompanies alcohol drinking). These subjective effects have the potential to influence drug taking behavior. One of the focuses of the Besheer Lab is to understand the neurobiology underlying the subjective/interoceptive effects of alcohol and alcohol drinking. In particular we are interested in understanding how prolonged/repeated elevations in the stress hormone corticosterone can impact interoceptive sensitivity to alcohol and alcohol drinking, with a focus on the mechanistic involvement of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). Our work takes a multidisciplinary approach, utilizing models of self-administration and drug discrimination, behavioral pharmacology techniques and immunohistochemistry techniques to better understand the underlying neural mechanisms underlying these critical behaviors. Together, studying mechanisms involved in how stress can modulate the interoceptive effects of alcohol and alcohol reinforcement has numerous implications for the development of therapeutic interventions in alcoholism and for identifying factors that influence pathological behavioral processes in addiction, such as drug taking and relapse.
Neurobiological mechanisms underlying sensitivity to the interoceptive/subjective effects of alcohol and alcohol reinforcement in adults and adolescents.
Understanding the impact of stress-related systems on the interoceptive effects of alcohol and alcohol reinforcement.
Identifying the functional involvement of brain regional mGluR systems in modulating blunted sensitivity to alcohol and increased alcohol drinking following stress exposure.
Interaction between HPA axis dysregulation and sensitivity to alcohol.
Examining mGluR-related mechanisms modulating depressive-like behavior that emerges following stress exposure.
Sensitivity to the interoceptive/subjective effects of alcohol (both experimenter-administered and self-administered) is blunted following prolonged/repeated exposure to the stress hormone corticosterone.
HPA axis function is altered following prolonged exposure to corticosterone that results in reduced sensitivity to alcohol.
mGluR5 in the nucleus accumbens are critical for the expression of the interoceptive effects of alcohol and alcohol reinforcement.