Background: The term Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) incorporates different states of disease related to the recurrent use of alcohol and linked to the relevant impairment, disability and failure to perform major responsibilities in different realms. Many neurotransmitter systems are involved in the phases or states of alcoholism from reward mechanisms, associated to binge intoxication, to stress and anxiety linked to relapse and withdrawal. Some neuropeptides play a key function in the control of anxiety and stress, and establish a close relationship with the pathological mechanisms underlying alcohol addiction. Among them, Neuropeptide Y (NPY), Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)/Urocortins and Neuropeptide S (NPS) cross-talk, and are responsible for some of the maladaptation processes that the brain exhibits during the progression of the disease.Method: In this study, we review the literature mainly focused on the participation of these neuropeptides in the pathophysiology of AUD, as well as on the use of antagonists designed to investigate signaling mechanisms initiated after ligand binding and their connection to biochemical adaptation events coupled to alcohol addiction. The possibility that these systems may serve as therapeutic objectives to mitigate or eliminate the harm that drinking ethanol generates, is also discussed. Conclusion: The peptide systems reviewed here, together with other neurotransmitter systems and their mutual relationships, are firm candidates to be targeted to treat AUD.
Keywords: Alcohol use disorder (AUD), alcoholism, neuropeptide Y, corticotropin- releasing factor (CRF), neuropeptide S (NPS), urocortin I, neuropeptide antagonists.