Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery may provide new treatments for alcohol dependence

01.07.2009
Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have discovered a new brain mechanism involved in alcohol addiction involving the stomach hormone ghrelin.

When ghrelin's actions in the brain are blocked, alcohol's effects on the reward system are reduced. It is an important discovery that could lead to new therapies for addictions such as alcohol dependence.

The results will be published in the renowned American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Ghrelin is a hormone produced by the stomach and, by signalling in the brain, increases hunger. The new finding, that it is also involved in alcohol addiction, highlights the reward system of the brain as a key target for ghrelin's effects. "Ghrelin's actions in the brain may be of importance for all kinds of addictions, including chemical drugs such as alcohol and even food" says Suzanne Dickson, Professor of Physiology, a leading expert in appetite regulation.

The work emerged from a unique collaboration between the research groups of Prof Suzanne Dickson and Prof Emeritus Jörgen Engel, including researchers Dr Elisabet Jerlhag and Dr Emil Egecioglu. They show that mice treated with ghrelin increase their alcohol consumption. When ghrelin's actions are blocked, for example, by administering ghrelin receptor antagonists, mice no longer show preference for an alcohol-associated environment -in other words, alcohol is no longer able to produce its addictive effects, that include reward searching behaviour (akin to craving in alcoholic patients).

"If we can develop drugs that block the receptors for ghrelin, we could have a new effective treatment for alcohol dependence. It may however take several years until such a pharmacological treatment will reach the patient", says Professor Emeritus Jörgen Engel, an authority on research on alcohol dependency at the Sahlgrenska Academy. The group has submitted a patent application for this invention.

FACTS on alcohol dependence
It is estimated that five percent of the adult Swedish population are alcohol dependent. Alcohol dependence is a complex and chronic disease which leads to adverse consequences affecting not only the patient but also their immediate family and has a profound economic burden on society (estimated to be around 60-100 billion kronor per year). Each year about 8,000 Swedes die of alcohol-related diseases.
For more information please contact:
Suzanne Dickson, Professor of Physiology, telephone: +46 703 693 568,
e-mail suzanne.dickson@gu.se
Jörgen Engel, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology, telephone: +46 734 204 412,
e-mail jorgen.engel@pharm.gu.se
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Article Title: Requirement of central ghrelin signaling for alcohol reward
Researchers: Elisabet Jerlhag, Emil Egecioglu, Sara Landgren, Nicolas Salomé, Markus Heilig, Diedrik Moechars, Rakesh Datta, Daniel Perrissoud, Suzanne L. Dickson, Jörgen A. Engel.
BY: Elin Lindström Claessen
+46 (0)31 7863869
elin.lindstrom@sahlgrenska.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>