Repeated alcohol intake leads to mesostriatal neuroadaptations, resulting in drinking escalation and addiction phenotypes. Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) has been shown to interact with the mesostriatal dopaminergic system, and has been implicated in the actions of psychostimulants in the brain, and in several psychiatric disorders. Here, we report on a positive regulatory feedback loop of alcohol and FGF2 in rodent models. Specifically, we found that acute alcohol exposure (2.5 g/kg, i.p.) increased the mRNA expression of Fgf2 in the dorsal hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, and dorsal striatum. Longer alcohol exposure (7 d × 2.5 g/kg, i.p.) restricted these increases to the dorsal striatum, and the latter effect was blocked by the dopamine D2-like receptor antagonist haloperidol. Voluntary prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption in a 2-bottle choice procedure increased Fgf2 expression selectively in dorsomedial striatum (DMS) of both mice and rats. Importantly, we found that systemic administration of recombinant FGF2 (rFGF2) in mice, or rFGF2 infusion into the dorsal striatum or DMS of rats, increased alcohol consumption and preference, with no similar effects on saccharin or sucrose consumption. Finally, we found that inhibition of the endogenous FGF2 function in the DMS, by an anti-FGF2 neutralizing antibody, suppressed alcohol consumption and preference. Together, our results suggest that alcohol consumption increases the expression of Fgf2 in the DMS, and that striatal FGF2 promotes alcohol consumption, suggesting that FGF2 in the DMS is a positive regulator of alcohol drinking.
- Dorsomedial striatum
- Fibroblast growth factor 2