Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brain receptor switches addiction on, off: study

21.01.2004


Findings suggest that enzyme may be manipulated phamalogically to control brain receptor



The discovery of a molecular "addiction switch" in the mammalian brain has the potential to control the addiction process in drug addicts, say U of T researchers.

A study published Jan. 18 in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience finds that a region of the brain called the VTA contains receptors that, when exposed to a certain enzyme, can control the switch from an addicted to non-addicted state and back again. This goes against previous ideas that viewed drug addiction as a permanent change in the brain, says lead author Steven Laviolette who conducted the research while a PhD student at U of T’s Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology with senior author Professor Derek van der Kooy.


"Our findings suggest that instead of a permanent alteration in the brain, there’s actually a switch that goes on between two separate systems (one that mediates the brain’s response to drugs while not yet addicted and the other that mediates response once addicted)," says Laviolette. "They also suggest we may be able to manipulate that switch pharmacologically to take drug addicts back to a non-addicted state in a relatively short period of time so they do not crave the drug."

The switch is a brain receptor known as GABA-A; an enzyme - carbonic anhydrase - produced by the body controls how the receptor behaves. In studies with rats, the researchers were able to manipulate the enzyme with a drug to control whether it turned this switch on or off. Without such intervention, the brain can switch back to a non-addicted state following a period of withdrawal from drugs - a process often measured in weeks. By manipulating the enzyme pharmacologically, however, that return to a non-addicted state in rats has been reduced to a matter of hours, says Laviolette, now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh.

"The same anatomical pathways that we’re manipulating in rats also exist in humans so we hope that this will be applicable to human drug addiction as well," he says.

Collaborators on the study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, included Roger Gallegos and Steven Henriksen of the Scripps Research Institute in California.


Jessica Whiteside is a news services officer with the department of public affairs.

CONTACT:
Steven Laviolette, ph: (412) 624-7332; email: Laviolette@bns.pitt.edu
U of T Public Affairs, ph: (416) 978-5948; email: jessica.whiteside@utoronto.ca

Jessica Whiteside | University of Toronto
Further information:
http://www.newsandevents.utoronto.ca/bin5/040120b.asp

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>