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Review
. 2017;244:219-236.
doi: 10.1007/164_2016_97.

Sigma Receptors and Alcohol Use Disorders

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Review

Sigma Receptors and Alcohol Use Disorders

Valentina Sabino et al. Handb Exp Pharmacol. .

Abstract

Although extensive research has focused on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying alcohol addiction, pharmacological treatments for alcohol use disorders are very limited and not always effective. This constraint has encouraged the search for novel pharmacological targets for alcoholism therapy. Sigma receptors were shown to mediate some of the properties of cocaine and amphetamine, which was attributed to the direct binding of psychostimulants to these receptors. More recently, the role of sigma receptors in the rewarding and reinforcing effects of alcohol was also proposed, and it was suggested that their hyperactivity may result in excessive alcohol drinking. This chapter reviews current knowledge on the topic, and suggests that the sigma receptor system may represent a new therapeutic target for the treatment of alcohol use disorders.

Keywords: Addiction; Alcohol; Alcohol dependence; Alcoholism; Consumption; Drinking; Ethanol; Preferring; Withdrawal.

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