Proinflammatory signaling regulates voluntary alcohol intake and stress-induced consumption after exposure to social defeat stress in mice

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Proinflammatory activity has been postulated to play a role in addictive processes and stress responses, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. Here, we examined the role of interleukin 1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in regulation of voluntary alcohol consumption, alcohol reward and stress-induced drinking. Mice with a deletion of the IL-1 receptor I gene (IL-1RI KO) exhibited modestly decreased alcohol consumption. However, IL-1RI deletion affected neither the rewarding properties of alcohol, measured by conditioned place preference (CPP), nor stress-induced drinking induced by social defeat stress. TNF-α signaling can compensate for phenotypic consequences of IL1-RI deletion. We therefore hypothesized that double deletion of both IL-1RI and TNF-1 receptors (TNF-1R) may reveal the role of these pathways in regulation of alcohol intake. Double KOs consumed significantly less alcohol than control mice over a range of alcohol concentrations. The combined deletion of TNF-1R and IL-1RI did not influence alcohol reward, but did prevent increased alcohol consumption resulting from exposure to repeated bouts of social defeat stress. Taken together, these data indicate that IL-1RI and TNF-1R contribute to regulation of stress-induced, negatively reinforced drinking perhaps through overlapping signaling events downstream of these receptors, while leaving rewarding properties of alcohol largely unaffected.

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