Regulation of alcohol-seeking by orexin (hypocretin) neurons

Brain Res. 2010 Feb 16:1314:124-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.07.072. Epub 2009 Jul 29.


Orexins (hypocretins) are found primarily within a restricted portion of neurons within the hypothalamus, but provide innervation across the neuraxis. Orexin A (hypocretin 1) has been implicated in drug and food reward. Not surprisingly therefore, interest has come to bear on whether orexins are implicated in aspects of alcohol consumption and/or seeking. This mini-review provides a concise, but timely, discussion on this issue. The evidence to date would suggest a role for orexins in alcohol use, and integration of orexin-containing neurons in reward-seeking circuitry. There are however still many unanswered questions, some of which are canvassed herein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol-Induced Disorders, Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Area, Lateral / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamic Area, Lateral / physiopathology*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Motivation / drug effects
  • Motivation / physiology
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Orexins
  • Recurrence
  • Reward
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / metabolism
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology


  • HCRT protein, human
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Orexins