Limited attention has been given to our understanding of how the brain responds to low-dose alcohol (ethanol) and what molecular and cellular targets mediate these effects. Even at concentrations lower than 10mM (0.046 g% blood alcohol concentration, BAC), below the legal driving limit in the USA (BAC 0.08 g%), alcohol impacts brain function and behavior. Understanding what molecular and cellular targets mediate the initial effects of alcohol and subsequent neuroplasticity could provide a better understanding of vulnerability or resilience to developing alcohol use disorders. We review here what is known about the neurobiology of low-dose alcohol, provide insights into potential molecular targets, and discuss future directions and challenges in further defining targets of low-dose alcohol at the molecular, cellular, and circuitry levels.
Keywords: alcohol; ethanol; intoxication; low-dose; molecular targets; neurobiology.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.