Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA)-Neuroimmue consortium (Notice# NOT-AA-11-006/NOT-AA-11-007) to identify the molecular, cellular, and behavioral neuroadaptations that occur in specific brain neurocircuitries that result in excessive alcohol consumption.
This multidisciplinary initiative has 9 projects and 3 cores (see INIA STRUCTURE - https://sites.cns.utexas.edu/inia-neuroimmune/structure) that focus on the molecular and cellular neuroadaptations in brain addiction circuits with the goal of discovering therapeutic approaches that correct the damaging perturbations of these circuit components.
The original consortium, INIA-West, was funded in September 2001. Substantial progress in the development of animal models of excessive alcohol consumption led to a major change in the subgroups and cores for the first competitive renewal. The functions of the different subgroups were distributed into functional Binge and Dependence constructs. The Animal Models Cores took the charge of providing animals/paradigms to individual INIA-West investigators. The emphasis then shifted from developing animal models (original core grants) to genetic refinements of existing animal models with selective breeding. The success with animal models and the issue of overlapping use of animal models led to discussions regarding a functional reorganization of INIA-West with the Steering Committee, all INIA-West investigators, and the Scientific Advisory Board.
What evolved is a focus on excessive alcohol consumption that has convergent validity with human alcoholism. The Binge and Dependence constructs have heuristic value and provide a practical means for INIA-West investigators to interact at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels of analysis and utilize animal models of excessive drinking. In the domain of identifying targets for excessive alcohol consumption, INIA-West has completed numerous gene array studies on genetic animal models and moved to gene array studies in models of excessive drinking. Gene array pathways novel to the alcohol field in the excessive drinking domain have been identified.
The current consortium will focus on establishing a causal role for these protein targets and potential targets for medication development. These two goals will proceed in parallel. Several mechanistic studies identified targets where small molecules can be tested in the Target Assessment Cores. The Administrative Core will coordinate a multidisciplinary, multicomponent research effort.