The urocortin 1 neurocircuit: Ethanol-sensitivity and potential involvement in alcohol consumption

Andrey E. Ryabinin, Adam Z. Weitemier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

57 Scopus citations


One of the hallmarks of alcoholism is continued excessive consumption of alcohol-containing beverages despite the negative consequences of such behavior. The neurocircuitry regulating alcohol consumption is not well understood. Recent studies have shown that the neuropeptide urocortin 1 (Ucn1), a member of the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) family of peptides, could be an important player in the regulation of alcohol consumption. This evidence is accumulated along three directions of research: (1) Ucn 1-containing neurons are extremely sensitive to alcohol; (2) the Ucn1 neurocircuit may contribute to the genetic predisposition to high alcohol intake in mice and rats; (3) manipulation of the Ucn1 system alters alcohol consumption and sensitivity. This paper reviews the current knowledge of the Ucn1 neurocircuit and the evidence for its involvement in alcohol-related behaviors, and proposes a mechanism for its involvement in the regulation of alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-380
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Research Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006



  • Addiction
  • CRH
  • Edinger-Westphal nucleus
  • Ethanol
  • Lateral septum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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