Phone: (919) 843-4823
B.S., Psychology and Computer Science, University of Alabama, Birmingham
M.S., Experimental Psychology, Auburn University
Ph.D., Behavioral Pharmacology, Auburn University
Alcoholism is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder that is characterized by recurring cycles of chronic drinking, abstinence and relapse. Emerging evidence suggests that alcohol and other drugs of abuse may produce maladaptive changes in a variety of neurotransmitter, cell signaling and gene transcription pathways that lead to enduring changes in brain structure and function. These neuroadaptations are thought to regulate behavioral pathologies that occur in alcoholism. The primary goals of our research are to 1) elucidate neuroadaptations in molecular signaling pathways associated with chronic voluntary alcohol drinking and abstinence; and 2) investigate the functional movement of these molecular pathways in the behavioral effects of alcohol including self-administration, mood regulation (i.e. anxiety and depression), discrimination, and sensitization. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of drug-induced plasticity in brain and behavioral functions is of potential importance for development of new pharmacotherapies for problems associated with alcoholism, such as relapse.
1. Spanos M, Besheer J, Hodge CW. Increased Sensitivity to Alcohol Induced Changes in ERK Map Kinase Phosphorylation and Memory Disruption in Adolescent as Compared to Adult C57BL/6J Mice. Behav Brain Res 230(1):158-66; 2012
2. Cannady R, Grondin JJ, Fisher KR, Hodge CW, Besheer J. Activation of Group II Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors Inhibits the Discriminative Stimulus Effects of Alcohol via Selective Activity Within the Amygdala. Neuropsychopharmacology: 36(11):2328-38; 2011.
3. Besheer J, Grondin JJM, Cannady R, Sharko AC, Faccidomo S, Hodge CW. MGlu5 receptor activity in the nucleus accumbens is required for the maintenance of ethanol self-administration in a rat genetic model of high alcohol intake. Biological Psychiatry: 67(9):812-22; 2010.
4. Besheer J, Grondin JJM, Salling MC, Spanos M, Stevenson RA, Hodge CW. Interoceptive effects of alcohol require mGlu5 receptor activity in the nucleus accumbens. The Journal of Neuroscience 29(30):9582-9591; 2009
5. Schroeder JP, Spanos M, Stevenson JR, Besheer J, Salling M, Hodge CW. Cue-induced reinstatement of alcohol-seeking behavior is associated with increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation in specific limbic brain regions: Blockade by the mGluR5 antagonist MPEP. Neuropharmacology 55(4):546-54; 2008.