The emerging role of lhb camkii in the comorbidity of depressive and alcohol use disorders

Chaya Shor, Wanhong Zuo, Jean D. Eloy, Jiang Hong Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Depressive disorders and alcohol use disorders are widespread among the general population and are significant public health and economic burdens. Alcohol use disorders often co-occur with other psychiatric conditions and this dual diagnosis is called comorbidity. Depressive disorders invariably contribute to the development and worsening of alcohol use disorders, and vice versa. The mechanisms underlying these disorders and their comorbidities remain unclear. Recently, interest in the lateral habenula, a small epithalamic brain structure, has increased because it becomes hyperactive in depression and alcohol use disorders, and can inhibit dopamine and serotonin neurons in the midbrain reward center, the hypofunction of which is believed to be a critical contributor to the etiology of depressive disorders and alcohol use disorders as well as their comorbidities. Additionally, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) in the lateral habenula has emerged as a critical player in the etiology of these comorbidities. This review analyzes the interplay of CaMKII signaling in the lateral habenula associated with depressive disorders and alcohol use disorders, in addition to the often-comorbid nature of these disorders. Although most of the CaMKII signaling pathway’s core components have been discovered, much remains to be learned about the biochemical events that propagate and link between depression and alcohol abuse. As the field rapidly advances, it is expected that further understanding of the pathology involved will allow for targeted treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8123
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


  • Addiction
  • Alcohol
  • CaMKII
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Drugs of abuse
  • Lateral habenula


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