Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Translational Psychiatry



DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

December 2015


The hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) regulates appetite and food intake. GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) activation also attenuates the reinforcing properties of alcohol in rodents. The present translational study is based on four human genetic association studies and one preclinical study providing data that support the hypothesis that GLP-1R may have a role in the pathophysiology of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Case–control analysis (N=908) was performed on a sample of individuals enrolled in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) intramural research program. The Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment (SAGE) sample (N=3803) was used for confirmation purposes. Post hoc analyses were carried out on data from a human laboratory study of intravenous alcohol self-administration (IV-ASA;N=81) in social drinkers and from a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in alcohol-dependent individuals (N=22) subjected to a Monetary Incentive Delay task. In the preclinical study, a GLP-1R agonist was evaluated in a mouse model of alcohol dependence to demonstrate the role of GLP-1R for alcohol consumption. The previously reported functional allele 168Ser (rs6923761) was nominally associated with AUD (P=0.004) in the NIAAA sample, which was partially replicated in males of the SAGE sample (P=0.033). The 168Ser/Ser genotype was further associated with increased alcohol administration and breath alcohol measures in the IV-ASA experiment and with higher BOLD response in the right globus pallidus when receiving notification of outcome for high monetary reward. Finally, GLP-1R agonism significantly reduced alcohol consumption in a mouse model of alcohol dependence. These convergent findings suggest that the GLP-1R may be an attractive target for personalized pharmacotherapy treatment of AUD.


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VCU Psychiatry Publications

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