Sunday June 16, 2019

Cocaine Abuse Can be Controlled With Elevated Bile Acid Levels

The findings also contributed to a greater understanding of how gut-based signalling influenced higher order central functions such as reward

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'The traders from across the border have stopped coming' Pixabay

Bile acids that aid in fat digestion may reduce the rewarding properties of cocaine use, suggesting potential new strategies for treatment of drug abuse, a study has found.

The findings showed that bile diversion surgery — an experimental treatment for weight loss by increasing the amount of bile acids that enter the general circulation — lowered dopamine release in response to cocaine.

Further, mice that received the surgery also had lower craving for cocaine.

“These findings redefine the physiological significance of bile acid signalling and highlighting the importance of determining whether bile acid analogues represent a viable pharmacological treatment for cocaine abuse,” said Aurelio Galli from the University of Alabama in the US.

cocaine
Representational image. Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, the team administered a drug called OCA — semi-synthetic bile acid — in mice that mimicked the effect of bile at its brain receptor named TGR5.

The results provided evidence to show that elevated levels of bile after the surgery reduced the preference for cocaine.

Also Read: How drugs like heroin, opium, cocaine, marijuana make way into India

Knocking out TGR5 from the brain’s nucleus accumbens — a central reward region — prevented bile acids from reducing cocaine’s effects, confirming that signalling through this receptor was responsible for the cocaine-related results of bile acid elevation.

The findings also contributed to a greater understanding of how gut-based signalling influenced higher order central functions such as reward. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Find Cocaine in UK Shrimp

Scientists have found evidence that they are entering the human body, with microplastics in human stools for the first time in 2018

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A government raid empties a shrimp shed in Samut Sakhon, Thailand. Slavery has often been considered an acceptable business practice in the country's seafood export capital. (VOA)

Researchers in the UK have found cocaine, pharmaceuticals and pesticides in all samples of freshwater shrimp in a rural area of eastern England.

Scientists from King’s College London and the University of Suffolk tested the exposure of freshwater shrimp to different micropollutants at 15 different sites in the county of Suffolk.

Scientists were surprised to find illicit drugs in the samples in rural England, with ketamine also widespread. The full results of the study were published in the journal Environment International.

“Such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising,” Leon Barron from King’s College London said in a press release.

“We might expect to see these in urban areas such as London, but not in smaller and more rural catchments.”

Researchers also found traces of fenuron, a pesticide that has long been banned in the UK, added Barron, who said that the sources of the chemical are not clear.

Cocaine. Wikimedia commons

“Although concentrations were low, we were able to identify compounds that might be of concern to the environment and crucially, which might pose a risk to wildlife,” said Thomas Miller from King’s College London.

“The impact of ‘invisible’ chemical pollution (such as drugs) on wildlife health needs more focus in the UK as policy can often be informed by studies such as these,” said Nic Bury from the University of Suffolk.

High levels of benzoylecgonine, the main metabolite of cocaine, have previously been detected in wastewater in London.

Also Read- Three Tombs Discovered Under Egypt’s Great Pyramids

Microplastics are also a concern, with the tiny plastic particles being found inside fish, sea turtles and even flying insects, the researchers said.

Scientists have found evidence that they are entering the human body, with microplastics in human stools for the first time in 2018. (IANS)