Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New study shows hope for treating inhalant abuse


GVG may reduce addictive effects of ’huffing’

A new study by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory suggests that vigabatrin (a.k.a. gamma vinyl-GABA or GVG) may block the addictive effects of toluene, a substance found in many household products commonly used as inhalants. These results broaden the promise of GVG as a potential treatment for a variety of addictions. The study will be published in the December 1, 2004 issue of Synapse, available online September 30.

Inhalant abuse or "huffing" continues to grow as a serious health problem: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of new inhalant users increased from 627,000 in 1994 to 1.2 million in 2000. The chronic use of inhalants has been associated with heart, liver, kidney, and brain damage -- and can even result in sudden death.

The Brookhaven Lab study demonstrates that animals previously trained to expect toluene in a given location spent far less time "seeking" toluene in that location after being treated with GVG than animals treated with a placebo. This elimination of conditioned place preference -- a model of craving in which animals develop a preference for a place where they have previously had access to a drug, even when the drug is absent -- is similar to the aversion seen in Brookhaven’s earlier studies of GVG with nicotine and heroin.

"The findings of this study extend the potential value of GVG to treat addiction," says Stephen Dewey, the Brookhaven Lab neuroanatomist who led the study. "More importantly, our results show promise in treating inhalant abuse as it continues to grow as a problem among adolescents." There are currently no pharmaceutical treatments for inhalant abuse.

The study was conducted by putting rats through a series of conditioning tests. The tests were intended to condition the animals to learn which chambers of a three-chambered apparatus contained toluene vapors. On the final day of the study, scientists randomly administered either saline or GVG to the rats one hour before the testing. They then gave the rats free access to the chambers with no toluene present while monitoring the animals’ behavior.

Researchers found that animals treated with GVG spent 80 seconds on the side of the chamber where they had previously received toluene as compared to the saline-treated animals, which spent 349 seconds in the "toluene" chamber. "GVG significantly blocked toluene-seeking behavior in these rats," Dewey said.

Earlier research at Brookhaven Lab demonstrated the addictive nature of inhalants. A team led by Dewey found that toluene elevates dopamine in the same regions of the brain as other addictive drugs, such as cocaine. The neurotransmitter dopamine is associated with the activation of pleasure and reward circuits in the brain.

Inhalant abuse is among the most common forms of drug abuse, particularly among pre- and early adolescents, who inhale or "huff" chemical vapors found in many common household products that are not generally thought of as drugs. Seventy-one percent of inhalant users are 12 to 25 year olds, according to the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health performed by the U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

Stephen Dewey and Jonathan Brodie, a psychiatrist at the New York University School of Medicine, have collaborated at Brookhaven Lab on a large body of preclinical research on GVG as a potential treatment for addiction, and on two small-scale trials of GVG in Mexico [one published, one yet-to-be published]. Results from the preclinical and early clinical trials show that GVG holds promise as a treatment for addiction to a variety of abused drugs (see:

In October 2002, Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners of Coral Gables, Florida (, received an exclusive worldwide license from Brookhaven Science Associates, operator of Brookhaven National Laboratory, for the use of the drug GVG for its application in treating drug addiction.

Dennis Tartaglia | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>