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
Helena Aaberg | idw
Polymers Based on Boron?
18.01.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production
18.01.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Life Sciences
18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences