Previous studies have shown that the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is a good model organism for studying the effects of methamphetamine on the body and brain. Researchers have found that meth exposure has similar toxicological effects in fruit flies and in humans and other mammals.
Some studies found that supplementing the fly’s diet with added glucose or other metabolic precursors slowed the damaging effects of exposure to methamphetamine, suggesting that meth has a profoundly negative effect on metabolism. Human meth users are known to crave sugary drinks, an indication that their sugar metabolism, too, is altered by methamphetamine use.
“But previous research has not spelled out exactly how methamphetamine use affects energy metabolism,” said University of Illinois entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh, who led the new study with postdoctoral researcher Kent Walters. “Either it alters the expression of metabolic genes and/or the function of proteins, or it changes behaviors related to feeding and activity.”To test these competing hypotheses, the researchers monitored the fruit flies’ energy reserves and other byproducts of metabolism in response to meth
exposure – with and without the addition of dietary glucose. They also tracked how meth affected the flies’ feeding behavior, activity levels and respiration rates.
“We found that methamphetamine in the diet increased the flies’ locomotor activity two-fold and decreased their food consumption by 60 to 80 percent,” Walters said. Levels of triglycerides and glycogen, the two predominant energy storage molecules in animals, decreased steadily with meth exposure over a 48-hour period, suggesting that meth induced a negative caloric balance.“This is very similar to what has been observed in humans for whom amphetamines can cause increased physical activity and decreased appetite,” Walters said.
The flies’ metabolic rate also declined in response to meth exposure, the opposite of what would be expected if metabolic changes were driving the depletion of triglycerides and glycogen.
Adding glucose to the diet slowed the rate of decline and death in meth-fed flies, Walters said.
“While methamphetamine exposure has a lot of other toxic effects that also undermine an animal’s health, we show that meth exposure leads to anorexia and the resulting caloric deficit exhausts the animal’s metabolic reserves,” he said. “This is likely a primary factor in meth-induced mortality.”
The new findings further support the usefulness of the fruit fly as a model system to study the effects of methamphetamines, Pittendrigh said.
The paper, “Methamphetamine causes anorexia in Drosophila melanogaster, exhausting metabolic reserves and contributing to mortality,” is available online: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jts
Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences