Treatment of Alcoholism by Inhibition of the Neuropeptide Y Receptor

Aversive or anticraving medications are currently used to supplement behavioral treatment of alcohol dependence. However, there is a need for developing more effective medications than those available. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a neurotransmitter known for increasing appetite and possibly having a role in alcohol preference and dependence. This is likely to be mediated by activation of the post-synaptic NPY-Y1 receptor, but developing molecules suitable for human therapeutics that activate that receptor represents a major challenge. Researchers at the NIH have now shown that administering antagonists of the presynaptic Y2 receptor of NPY decreases alcohol consumption and may be a valuable new treatment for alcoholism.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
Treatment of alcohol dependence 

Development Stage:
Early stage


Markus Heilig

Intellectual Property:
PCT Application No. PCT/US02/01902
US Application No. 10/492,785

R Rimondini et al. Suppression of ethanol self-administration by the neuropeptide Y (NPY) Y2 receptor antagonist BIIE0246: evidence for sensitization in rats with a history of dependence. Neurosci Lett. 2005 Feb 28;375(2):129-133. PubMed abs
A Thorsell et al. Blockade of central neuropeptide Y (NPY) Y2 receptors reduces ethanol self-administration in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2002 Oct 25;332(1):1-4. PubMed abs

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize antagonism of presynaptic NPY Y2 receptors for treatment of alcohol dependence. Please contact Peter B. Silverman at for more information.

Licensing Contact:
Admin. Licensing Specialist (ALS),

OTT Reference No: E-101-2004-0
Updated: Aug 1, 2008