Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a debilitating condition marked by cyclic patterns of craving, use, and withdrawal. These pathological behaviors are mediated by multiple neurotransmitter systems utilizing glutamate, GABA, dopamine, ATP, and adenosine. In particular, purines such as ATP and adenosine have been demonstrated to alter the phase and function of the circadian clock and are reciprocally regulated by the clock itself. Importantly, chronic ethanol intake has been demonstrated to disrupt the molecular circadian clock and is associated with altered circadian patterns of activity and sleep. Moreover, ethanol has been demonstrated to disrupt purinergic signaling, while dysfunction of the purinergic system has been implicated in conditions of drug abuse such as AUD. In this review, we summarize our current knowledge regarding circadian disruption by ethanol, focusing on the reciprocal relationship that exists between oscillatory neurotransmission and the molecular circadian clock. In particular, we offer detailed explanations and hypotheses regarding the concerted regulation of purinergic signaling and circadian oscillations by neurons and astrocytes, and review the diverse mechanisms by which purinergic dysfuction may contribute to circadian disruption or alcohol abuse. Finally, we describe the mechanisms by which ethanol may disrupt or hijack endogenous circadian rhythms to induce the maladaptive behavioral patterns associated with AUD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)