Methamphetamine, the drug of choice for long-distance truckers and college students pulling all-nighters, appears to do a similar trick for fruit flies, too. This finding is one of several in a new study that demonstrates a critical role for the neurotransmitter dopamine in the modulation of sleep, wake, and arousal states.
The work is reported by Dr. Ralph Greenspan and colleagues at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego.
The researchers found that long, sleepless nights, heightened locomotor activity, frenetic brain activity, and frenzied (but ultimately ineffective) courtship behavior are all characteristics of fruit flies on methamphetamine, the effects of which are known to act through the neurotransmitter dopamine. In the new work, the researchers showed that genetically engineered flies whose dopamine cells could be turned off experimentally, or flies that have received dopamine inhibitors, show converse behavioral effects to those seen in normal flies that have ingested methamphetamine. The results suggest that the right balance of dopamine is necessary for proper brain functioning, as has been seen in human studies of attention and distraction. Dopamine has been implicated in numerous aspects of brain function in humans and other animals, and many of these brain functions involve the modulation of neuronal activity and the ability to assign proper saliency (or relevance) to sensory stimuli.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
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30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
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21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy