Cue-induced reinstatement of alcohol-seeking is a hallmark behavioral pathology of addiction. Evidence suggests that reinstatement (e.g., relapse), may be regulated by cell signaling systems that underlie neuroplasticity. A variety of plasticity events require activation of calcium calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) in components of the reward pathway, such as the nucleus accumbens and amygdala.
The GABAergic neuroactive steroid (3α,5α)-3-hydroxy-pregnan-20-one (3α,5α-THP; allopregnanolone) enhances GABAergic activity and produces subjective effects similar to ethanol (EtOH). The effect of chronic alcohol exposure on 3α,5α-THP concentrations has been studied in mouse, rat, and monkey limbic brain areas.