It is well known that individuals, who have primary mental disorder (for instance depression, schizophrenia) use alcohol for self medication purposes. Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence that individuals, who have alcohol addiction, during the abstinence develop secondary psychiatric illness.

In this case mental illness can be explained by neuradaptations in the brain elicited by chronic intoxication with alcohol. Another explanation would be that comorbid disorders – alcoholism and depression – are due to common genetical predisposition to develop mental disorders. Therefore the precise mechanism and genetic vulnerbility is not clear in this case. Consequently, our research team purpose is to elucidate the overlapping mechanims of those two psychiatric disorders in order to suggest the potential treatment strategies. First of all, we will develop preclinical rat models of depression and alcoholism disorders. For this purpose we will use behavioural and pharmacological models.

Behavioural disease models are created by manipulating animal environmental conditions (chronic intermittent alcohol use will cause addiction), and pharmacological model which uses drugs, affecting nervous system function and/or develpmental processes (neonatal clomipramine treatment will induce depressive symptomatology among adult rats). Animal models of mental disorder will be validated using behavioural methods (for instance, Porsolt test, USV vocalisations, sucrose solution test for anhedonia). Later, we will perform electrophysiological and neurochemical measurements in order to get the more detailed picture about pathophysiological changes observed in those two mental disorders.



Group members

Prof. Valentina Vengelienė


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2013-2016 Lietuvos mokslo tarybos finansuojamas projektas: Chroniško alkoholio vartojimo poveikis skirtingų smegenų sričių aktyvumui (MIP-012/2014); projekto vadovė: Valentina Vengelienė; dalyviai: Rokas Buišas, Redas Dulinskas.

2013-2017 Konkursinės doktorantūros projektas: „„Lygiagrečiai atsirandančios ligos – alkoholizmas, depresija, šizofrenija, jų atsiradimo mechanizmai bei gydymas“; projekto vadovė: Valentina Vengelienė, projekto tyrėja: Eglė Janėnaitė.


  • Vengeliene V, Foo JC, Kim J (2020) Translational approach to understanding momentary factors associated with alcohol consumption. Br J Pharmacol 177:3878-3897;
  • Takahashi TT, Vengeliene V, Enkel T, Reithofer S, Spanagel R (2019) Pavlovian to Instrumental Transfer Responses Do Not Correlate With Addiction-Like Behavior in Rats. Front Behav Neurosci 13:129;
  • Foo JC, Vengeliene V, Noori HR, Yamaguchi I, Morita K, Nakamura T, Yamamoto Y, Spanagel R (2019) Drinking Levels and Profiles of Alcohol Addicted Rats Predict Response to Nalmefene. Front Pharmacol 10:471;
  • Noori HR, Mücksch C, Vengeliene V, Schönig K, Takahashi TT, Mukhtasimova N, Bagher Oskouei M, Mosqueira M, Bartsch D, Fink R, Urbassek HM, Spanagel R, Sine SM (2018) Alcohol reduces muscle fatigue through atomistic interactions with nicotinic receptors. Commun Biol 1:159;
  • Vengeliene V, Takahashi TT, Dravolina OA, Belozertseva I, Zvartau E, Bespalov AY, Spanagel R (2018) Efficacy and side effects of baclofen and the novel GABAB receptor positive allosteric modulator CMPPE in animal models for alcohol and cocaine addiction Psychopharmacology 235:1955-1965;
  • Vengeliene V, Rossmanith M, Takahashi TT, Alberati D, Behl B, Bespalov A, Spanagel R (2018) Targeting Glycine Reuptake in Alcohol Seeking and Relapse. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 365:202-211;
  • Foo JC, Noori HR, Yamaguchi I, Vengeliene V, Cosa-Linan A, Nakamura T, Morita K, Spanagel R, Yamamoto Y (2017) Dynamical state transitions into addictive behaviour and their early-warning signals. Proc Biol Sci 284(1860);
  • Janenaite E, Vengeliene V, Bespalov A, Behl B (2017) Potential role of tyrosine hydroxylase in the loss of psychostimulant effect of amphetamine under conditions of impaired dopamine transporter activity. Behav Brain Res 334:105-108;
  • Dulinskas R, Buisas R, Vengeliene V, Ruksenas O (2017) Effect of ethanol on the visual-evoked potential in rat: dynamics of ON and OFF responses. Acta Neurobiol Exp 77:190-197;
  • Gispert JD, Figueiras FP, Vengeliene V, Herance JR, Rojas S, Spanagel R (2017) Changes in cerebral [18F]-FDG uptake induced by acute alcohol administration in a rat model of alcoholism. Behav Brain Res 327:29-33;
  • Takahashi TT, Vengeliene V, Spanagel R (2017) Melatonin reduces motivation for cocaine self-administration and prevents relapse-like behavior in rats. Psychopharmacology 234:1741-1748;
  • F1000 recommendationVengeliene V, Bespalov A, Roßmanith M, Horschitz S, Berger S, Relo AL, Noori HR, Schneider P, Enkel T, Bartsch D, Schneider M, Behl B, Hansson AC, Schloss P, Spanagel R (2017) Towards trans-diagnostic mechanisms in psychiatry: neurobehavioral profile of rats with a loss-of-function point mutation in the dopamine transporter gene. Dis Model Mech 10:451-461;
  • Hadar R, Vengeliene V, Hlusicke EB, Canals S, Noori HR, Wieske F, Rummel J, Harnack D, Heinz A, Spanagel R, Winter C (2017) Paradoxical augmented relapse in alcohol dependent rats during deep brain stimulation in the nucleus accumbens. Transl Psychiatry 6:e840
  • Vengeliene V, Cannella N, Takahashi T, Spanagel R (2016) Metabolic shift of the kynurenine pathway impairs alcohol and cocaine seeking and relapse. Psychopharmacology 233:3449-3459;
  • Hadar R, Voget M, Vengeliene V, Haumesser JK, van Riesen C, Avchalumov Y, Spanagel R, Winter C (2016) Altered neural oscillations and elevated dopamine levels in the reward pathway during alcohol relapse. Behav Brain Res 316:131-135;
  • Hirth N, Meinhardt MW, Noori HR, Salgado H, Torres-Ramirez O, Uhrig S, Broccoli L, Vengeliene V, Roßmanith M, Perreau-Lenz S, Köhr G, Sommer WH, Spanagel R, Hansson AC (2016) Convergent evidence from alcohol-dependent humans and rats for a hyperdopaminergic state in protracted abstinence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:3024-3029;
  • Vengeliene V, Moeller A, Meinhardt MW, Beardsley PM, Sommer WH, Spanagel R, Bespalov A (2016) The Calpain Inhibitor A-705253 Attenuates Alcohol-Seeking and Relapse with Low Side-Effect Profile. Neuropsychopharmacology 41:979-988;
  • Vengeliene V, Olevska A, Spanagel R (2015) Long-lasting effect of NMDA receptor antagonist memantine on ethanol-cue association and relapse. J Neurochem 135:1080-1085;
  • Vengeliene V, Noori HR, Spanagel R (2015) Activation of Melatonin Receptors Reduces Relapse-Like Alcohol Consumption. Neuropsychopharmacology 40:2897-2906;
  • Pfarr S, Meinhardt MW, Klee ML, Hansson AC, Vengeliene V, Schönig K, Bartsch D, Hope BT, Spanagel R, Sommer WH (2015) Losing Control: Excessive Alcohol Seeking after Selective Inactivation of Cue-Responsive Neurons in the Infralimbic Cortex. J Neurosci 35:10750-10761;
  • Vengeliene V, Bilbao A, Spanagel R (2014) The alcohol deprivation effect model for studying relapse behavior: a comparison between rats and mice. Alcohol 48:313-320;
  • Vengeliene V, Bessiere B, Pype J, Spanagel R (2014) The Effects of Xenon and Nitrous Oxide Gases on Alcohol Relapse. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 38:557-563;
  • F1000, 2 recommendations Spanagel R, Vengeliene V, Jandeleit B, Fischer WN, Grindstaff K, Zhang X, Gallop MA, Krstew EV, Lawrence AJ, Kiefer F (2014) Acamprosate Produces its Anti-Relapse Effects via Calcium. Neuropsychopharmacology 39:783-791;
  • Vengeliene V
  • Villarín-Pildaín L, Vengeliene V, Matthäus F (2013) New measurement criteria for studying alcohol drinking and relapse in rodents. In silico pharmacology 1:13;
  • Vengeliene V, Noori HR, Spanagel R (2013) The use of a novel drinkometer system for assessing pharmacological treatment effects on ethanol consumption in rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 37 Suppl 1:E322-8;
  • Perreau-Lenz S, Vengeliene V, Noori HR, Merlo-Pich EV, Corsi MA, Corti C, Spanagel R (2012) Inhibition of the casein-kinase-1-epsilon/delta prevents relapse-like alcohol drinking. Neuropsychopharmacology 37:2121-2131;
  • Molander A, Vengeliene V, Heilig M, Wurst W, Deussing JM, Spanagel R (2012) Brain-specific inactivation of the Crhr1 gene inhibits post-dependent and stress-induced alcohol intake, but does not affect relapse-like drinking. Neuropsychopharmacology 37:1047-1056;