About this Research Topic
Stress-related effects are now considered a real disease that strongly alters the individual life style. In the last decades a tremendous amount of research has been devoted to exploring in great details the possible molecular mechanisms involved in the stress-related physiopathological responses, as well as the role of stress as a predisposing factor for abuse of psychotropic substances including ethanol. Improvement of various techniques in several fields such as electrophysiology, molecular biology and pharmacology, has greatly contributed to the discovery of the role of specific molecular targets involved in stress and ethanol actions. Thus a complex interplay mechanisms have emerged where different receptor and various neuromodulator systems (i.e., cholesterol-derived neuroactive steroids, BDNF, CRF, endocannabinoids, and others) are often associated to stress- and ethanol-related responses. Alterations in the activity of these molecular players, in turn, could be highly associated with profound changes in neuronal physiology and synaptic plasticity hampering the function of selective brain areas directly involved in the control of anxiety-like behaviors, reward-related effects, learning and memory. The goal of this Research Topic will be directed to collect different and most recent points of view arising from all major expertise in the field of ethanol and stress regarding the potential molecular mechanisms through which stress affects brain physiology that may be relevant for the increased ethanol abuse in stressed individuals. This Topic Section may provide exciting novel experimental results that may contribute to more unified understanding of the role played by distinct brain areas in the response to stress and ethanol actions.
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