Neurochemical and neurostructural plasticity in alcoholism

Justin T. Gass, Michael Olive

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The behavioral manifestations of alcoholism are primarily attributable to the numerous and lasting adaptations that occur in the brain as a result of chronic heavy alcohol consumption. As will be reviewed here, these adaptations include alcohol-induced plasticity in chemical neurotransmission, density and morphology of dendritic spines, as well as neurodegeneration and cerebral atrophy. Within the context of these neuroadaptations that have been observed in both human and animal studies, we will discuss how these changes potentially contribute to the cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions that are hallmark features of alcoholism, as well as how they reveal novel potential pharmacological targets for the treatment of this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-504
Number of pages11
JournalACS chemical neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 18 2012


  • Alcoholism
  • cerebral atrophy
  • dendritic spine
  • neural plasticity
  • neurochemistry
  • neurodegeneration
  • neurotransmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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