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Stress Hormone Linked to Alcohol Dependence, Researchers Say

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The stress hormone corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) plays a critical role in development and continuation of alcohol dependence in lab animals, according to research from the Scripps Research Institute.

Study lead author Marisa Roberto and colleagues studied alcohol dependency in rats and determined that CRF plays a “central role” in alcohol addiction, and that the symptoms of alcohol dependence can be alleviated by blocking the hormone on a long-term basis using a variety of CRF antagonists.

Researchers found that they could prevent increases in drinking by administering the antagonists daily for 23 days, raising hopes that blocking CRF could have potential as a treatment for alcohol dependence in humans.

The study appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

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