Friday March 22, 2019

Researchers Identify Gene To Prevent And Treat Alcoholism

Researchers discovered that when they increased the levels of the gene encoded protein in mice, they reduced alcohol consumption by almost 50 per cent without affecting the total amount of fluid consumed or their overall well-being.

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The study highlights the importance of using cross-species approaches to identify and test relevant drugs for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Pixabay

Researchers have identified a gene that could provide a new target for developing medication to prevent and treat alcoholism, according to a new study on mice.

Researchers at Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) in the US discovered a gene that had lower expression in the brains of non-human primates which voluntarily consumed heavy amounts of alcohol compared to those that drank less.

Furthermore, the team unraveled a link between alcohol and how it modulates the levels of activity of this particular gene.

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The study modified the levels of the protein encoded by a single gene known as GPR39.  Pixabay

Researchers discovered that when they increased the levels of the gene encoded protein in mice, they reduced alcohol consumption by almost 50 per cent without affecting the total amount of fluid consumed or their overall well-being.

The study modified the levels of the protein encoded by a single gene known as GPR39.

The prevalence rates of co-occurring mood and alcohol use disorders are high, with individuals with alcohol use disorder being 3.7 times more likely to have major depression than those who do not abuse alcohol.

Also Read: Keep Obesity At Bay With Flaxseeds

Using a commercially available substance that mimics the activity of the GPR39 protein, the researchers found that targeting this gene dramatically reduced alcohol consumption in mice, showed the findings of the study published in the journal, Neuropsychopharmacology.

“The study highlights the importance of using cross-species approaches to identify and test relevant drugs for the treatment of alcohol use disorder,” noted senior author Rita Cervera-Juanes, Research Assistant Professor at ONPRC. (IANS)

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Women Are More Prone To Drug Addiction Than Men

Women represent a particularly vulnerable population, with higher rates of addiction following exposure to drugs, said researcher Erin Calipari, Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University in the US.

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Women represent a particularly vulnerable population, with higher rates of addiction following exposure to drugs, said researcher Erin Calipari, Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University in the US. Pixabay

Women’s hormonal cycles may not only make them prone to drug addiction but are also affected by triggers that lead to relapse, new research has found.

When fertility-related hormone levels are high, females learn faster, make stronger associations to cues in their environment and are more inclined to seek rewards, according to a study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Women represent a particularly vulnerable population, with higher rates of addiction following exposure to drugs, said researcher Erin Calipari, Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University in the US.

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Females were willing to “pay” more in the presence of these cues to get cocaine, the findings showed. Pixabay

“Women becoming addicted to drugs may be a fundamentally different process than men,” she said. “It’s important to understand this, because it’s the first step in developing treatments that are actually effective,” Calipari said.

The next step, she said, would be to figure out specifics of how hormonal shifts affect women’s brains and, ultimately, develop medications that could help override those.

In this study, male and female rats were allowed to dose themselves with cocaine by pushing a lever, with a light set up to come on during dosing.

That’s similar to the environmental cues, such as drug paraphernalia, present when humans are taking drugs.

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The results are transferable to humans through behavioural economic analysis, which uses a complicated mathematical equation with values for the most and least a subject will do to get a payoff, said the study. Pixabay

When hormone levels were high, female rats made stronger associations with the light and were more likely to keep pushing the lever as much as it took to get any amount of cocaine.

Also Read: Conflicts with Your Mother in Childhood May Reduce Purpose in Life Later

Females were willing to “pay” more in the presence of these cues to get cocaine, the findings showed.

The results are transferable to humans through behavioural economic analysis, which uses a complicated mathematical equation with values for the most and least a subject will do to get a payoff, said the study. (IANS)