About INIAstress

Stress and anxiety have long been implicated in the development of harmful drinking, its escalation to alcoholism and relapse to drinking following a period of abstinence. The INIAstress consortium uses a state-of-the-art translational approach (mice, monkeys and humans) to understand the complex interaction of stress and excessive drinking and identify novel, effective and tailored treatment strategies for alcoholism.

Since its inception in 2002, INIAstress has had the primary goal of coordinating and facilitating translational, multidisciplinary and integrative research aimed at elucidating genetic and environmental influences on brain mechanisms that mediate excessive alcohol (ethanol) consumption, the response to stress, and the reciprocal relationship between excessive drinking, the physiological state of stress, and the subjective state of anxiety. Through this characterization we have helped to define factors that contribute to an individual's risk for the development of alcoholism, revealed underlying mechanisms and conditions that promote excessive and harmful drinking, and forged progress towards discovering novel, more effective, and tailored treatment strategies. We continue our cross-species approach and have further refined our INIAstress projects and cores to inform us about unique adaptations in brain circuitry following chronic intermittent ethanol exposure (ethanol-allostasis) that impact subsequent interaction of stress and ethanol to promote further excessive drinking. Collectively, these collaborative studies directly integrate behavioral, endocrine, neural and genetic data from animal models to humans within a scope of expertise and thematic inquiry.

Administrative core (ONPRC)

Consortium Coordinator: Kathleen Grant, ONPRC

Scientific Director: Howard Becker

Project Manager: Louise Sacha

Intramural Collaborator: David Lovinger

Research steering committee

*Kathleen Grant, ONPRC

*Howard Becker, MUSC

*Jenica Patterson, NIAAA

Thomas Kash, UNC

*David Lovinger, NIAAA

Elena Vazey, UMASS

*Executive committee members

Scientific advisory panel

James Herman, U-Cincinnati

Klaus Miczek, Tufts

Rajita Sinha, Yale University

Kay Tye, Salk Institute

Collaborative research committee

1/7: Becker (MUSC) Stress-enhanced drinking in alcohol dependence: Role of of dynorphin/KOR activity in extended amygdala circuitry.

2/7: Jones (WUFHS) Role of kappa opioid receptors in maladaptive catecholamine responses to stress and alcohol exposure.

3/7: Vazey, Moorman (UMASS) Impact of stress mediated locus coeruleus dysregulation on cognitive control and excessive drinking.

4/7: Mulholland (MUSC) Stress-induced dysregulation of prefrontal cortex circuitry and plasticity in alcohol dependence.

5/7: Kash (UNC) Deconstructing the role of extended amygdala circuits in stress regulated alcohol drinking.

6/7: Grant, Cuzon Carlson (ONPRC) Stress and ethanol self administration in monkeys.

7/7: Wand, McCaul (JHU) Glucocorticoid antagonists in heavy drinkers: effects on fMRI connectivity, withdrawal and drinking.

Research resource cores

1/3: Kash (UNC): Brain circuit validation core

2/3: Lopez (MUSC): Stress-CIE drinking mouse core

3/3: Kroenke (ONPRC): Translational neuroimaging core