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Title: Alcohol Consumption Affects the Coupling between Brain State and Prefrontal Cortical Activity

Name: My Nguyen

Major: Cell Biology and Neuroscience

School affiliation: School of Arts and Sciences

Programs: Division of Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (DLS-SURF)

Other contributors: Ivan Linares, Grayson Sipe, and Rafiq Huda

Abstract: Alcohol use disorder is characterized by loss of control over drinking behavior and increase in the amount of alcohol intake over time despite adverse consequences. Although much work has been done examining how cortical circuits change with models of binge-like drinking, the acute effects of alcohol consumption on neuronal physiology and the coupling between brain states remain unknown. Here, we examine the changes in pupil diameter and activity of corticostriatal neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) using two-photon calcium imaging as head-fixed mice actively drank alcohol over days. Striatal projecting and unlabeled cells were recorded concurrently with licking behavior and pupillometry to approximate changes in arousal. We find that alcohol consumption differentially affects distinct cortical projection neurons. Interestingly, alcohol drinking alters both labeled and unlabeled excitatory neurons’ correlations with pupil dynamics over time. In the future, we plan to examine how alcohol affects different neuromodulatory transmitter systems and interneurons on regulating cortical excitability. We are interested in knowing whether corticostriatal neurons are specialized for changes in pupil-neural activity correlations during drinking.