Disruption of alcohol-related memories by mTORC1 inhibition prevents relapse

Segev Barak, Feng Liu, Sami Ben Hamida, Quinn V. Yowell, Jeremie Neasta, Viktor Kharazia, Patricia H. Janak, Dorit Ron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Relapse to alcohol abuse is an important clinical issue that is frequently caused by cue-induced drug craving. Therefore, disruption of the memory for the cue-alcohol association is expected to prevent relapse. It is increasingly accepted that memories become labile and erasable soon after their reactivation through retrieval during a memory reconsolidation process that depends on protein synthesis. Here we show that reconsolidation of alcohol-related memories triggered by the sensory properties of alcohol itself (odor and taste) activates mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) in select amygdalar and cortical regions in rats, resulting in increased levels of several synaptic proteins. Furthermore, systemic or central amygdalar inhibition of mTORC1 during reconsolidation disrupts alcohol-associated memories, leading to a long-lasting suppression of relapse. Our findings provide evidence that the mTORC1 pathway and its downstream substrates are crucial in alcohol-related memory reconsolidation and highlight this pathway as a therapeutic target to prevent relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1117
Number of pages7
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


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