Publications by authors named "Nathan D Winters"

4 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Targeting diacylglycerol lipase reduces alcohol consumption in preclinical models.

J Clin Invest 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, United States of America.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and societal cost, and pharmacological treatment options for AUD are limited. The endogenous cannabinoid (eCB) signaling system is critically involved in reward processing and alcohol intake is positively correlated with release of the eCB ligand 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) within reward neurocircuitry. Here we show that genetic and pharmacological inhibition of diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL), the rate limiting enzyme in the synthesis of 2-AG, reduces alcohol consumption in a variety of preclinical models ranging from a voluntary free-access model to aversion resistant-drinking and dependence-like drinking induced via chronic intermittent ethanol vapor exposure in mice. DAGL inhibition during either chronic alcohol consumption or protracted withdrawal was devoid of anxiogenic and depressive-like behavioral effects. Lastly, DAGL inhibition also prevented ethanol-induced suppression of GABAergic transmission onto midbrain dopamine neurons, providing mechanistic insight into how DAGL inhibition could affect alcohol reward. These data suggest reducing 2-AG signaling via inhibition of DAGL could represent an effective approach to reduce alcohol consumption across the spectrum of AUD severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI146861DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8409586PMC
July 2021

Arrested Development: A Story of How Perinatal Cannabinoids Affect the Maturation of the Prefrontal Cortex.

Biol Psychiatry 2020 04;87(7):595-596

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee; Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee; Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee; The Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee; The Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research, Nashville, Tennessee. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.12.011DOI Listing
April 2020

Endocannabinoid Signaling Collapse Mediates Stress-Induced Amygdalo-Cortical Strengthening.

Neuron 2020 03 13;105(6):1062-1076.e6. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA; The Vanderbilt Brain Institute, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37232, USA; Departments of Pharmacology and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA; Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research, Nashville, TN 37232, USA. Electronic address:

Functional coupling between the amygdala and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) has been implicated in the generation of negative affective states; however, the mechanisms by which stress increases amygdala-dmPFC synaptic strength and generates anxiety-like behaviors are not well understood. Here, we show that the mouse basolateral amygdala (BLA)-prelimbic prefrontal cortex (plPFC) circuit is engaged by stress and activation of this pathway in anxiogenic. Furthermore, we demonstrate that acute stress exposure leads to a lasting increase in synaptic strength within a reciprocal BLA-plPFC-BLA subcircuit. Importantly, we identify 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)-mediated endocannabinoid signaling as a key mechanism limiting glutamate release at BLA-plPFC synapses and the functional collapse of multimodal 2-AG signaling as a molecular mechanism leading to persistent circuit-specific synaptic strengthening and anxiety-like behaviors after stress exposure. These data suggest that circuit-specific impairment in 2-AG signaling could facilitate functional coupling between the BLA and plPFC and the translation of environmental stress to affective pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2019.12.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7992313PMC
March 2020

Dynamic remodeling of a basolateral-to-central amygdala glutamatergic circuit across fear states.

Nat Neurosci 2019 12 11;22(12):2000-2012. Epub 2019 Nov 11.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Acquisition and extinction of learned fear responses utilize conserved but flexible neural circuits. Here we show that acquisition of conditioned freezing behavior is associated with dynamic remodeling of relative excitatory drive from the basolateral amygdala (BLA) away from corticotropin releasing factor-expressing (CRF) centrolateral amygdala neurons, and toward non-CRF (CRF) and somatostatin-expressing (SOM) neurons, while fear extinction training remodels this circuit back toward favoring CRF neurons. Importantly, BLA activity is required for this experience-dependent remodeling, while directed inhibition of the BLA-centrolateral amygdala circuit impairs both fear memory acquisition and extinction memory retrieval. Additionally, ectopic excitation of CRF neurons impairs fear memory acquisition and facilities extinction, whereas CRF neuron inhibition impairs extinction memory retrieval, supporting the notion that CRF neurons serve to inhibit learned freezing behavior. These data suggest that afferent-specific dynamic remodeling of relative excitatory drive to functionally distinct subcortical neuronal output populations represents an important mechanism underlying experience-dependent modification of behavioral selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41593-019-0528-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6884697PMC
December 2019
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