Bi-directional Acceleration of Alcohol Use and Opioid Use Disorder

Author(s): Wenfei Huang, Erika P. Penaherrera, Danaika F. Desir, Dominick L. Gamarro, Jessica Cottrell, Tinchun Chu and Sulie L. Chang*


Alcohol is the most widely used addictive substance. Severe alcohol abuse is diagnosed as “alcohol use disorder” (AUD). A common and harmful drinking pattern is binge drinking that elevates a person’s blood alcohol concentration to ≥ 0.08%. Such drinking may be an early indicator of AUD. Opioid misuse and dependence have become worldwide crises. Patterned consumption of various opioids can develop into opioid use disorder (OUD). An intertwined epidemic exists between opioid abuse, alcohol addiction, and binge drinking. Currently, studies on the interaction of AUD and OUD are limited and the underlying mechanisms linking these disorders remains unclear. We reviewed studies on AUD and OUD and utilized Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) to identify mechanisms of AUD and OUD interaction and potential gene targets for therapeutic agents. According to IPA Canonical Pathways Analysis, Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Receptor Signaling, Neuroinflammation Signaling Pathway, Opioid Signaling Pathway and Dopamine-DARPP32 Feedback in cAMP Signaling are potential contributors to the interaction of AUD and OUD.

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