Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is considered to be an important neuromodulator in the regulation of emotional behavior. For example, NPY is consistently involved in anxiety-related behaviors and there is increasing support for a role of this peptide in mood disorders such as depression. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that NPY has a significant role in the neurobiological response to alcohol, including alcohol consumption, dependence, and withdrawal. In addition, NPY is beginning to emerge as an important modulator in the etiology of alcoholism that is independent from the addictive and reinforcing properties of the traditional system commonly associated with dopamine and instead, is strongly associated with innate emotionality. The recent developments elucidating the role of NPY in emotion and alcohol dependence are reviewed and the potential of the NPY system as a novel therapeutic strategy in the treatment of anxiety, depression and alcohol-related disorders is examined.
Keywords: alcohol, depression, stress, anxiety, emotion, Neuropeptide Y, dependence, sedation
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