Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic changes behind sweet tooth

05.04.2011
The substance ghrelin plays an important role in various addictions, such as alcoholism and binge-eating. It also impacts on sugar consumption, which is due, in part, to genetic factors, reveals new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Ghrelin is a neuropeptide that both activates the brain’s reward system and increases appetite. This means that when we are hungry, levels of ghrelin increase, activating the brain’s reward system, and this, in turn, increases our motivation to look for food. Previous research from the Sahlgrenska Academy has linked ghrelin to the development of various dependencies, such as drug addiction and alcoholism.

In a new study published in the online version of the journal PlosOne, researchers examined the genes of 579 individuals chosen from the general public. It emerged that people with certain changes in the ghrelin gene consume more sugar than their peers who do not have these changes. This link was also seen in people who consumed large amounts of both sugar and alcohol.

Trials have also been carried out using rats, where the researchers found that when ghrelin was blocked the rats reduced their consumption of sugar and were less motivated to hunt for sugar.

“This shows that ghrelin is a strong driver when it comes to tracking down rewarding substances such as sugar or alcohol,” says researcher Elisabet Jerlhag from the Sahlgrenska Academy’s Department of Pharmacology.

These results go hand in hand with the researchers’ previous findings which showed that substances that block the ghrelin system reduce the positive effects of addictive drugs and that changes in the ghrelin gene are associated with high alcohol consumption, weight gain in alcoholics and smoking.

The researchers are now a step closer to understanding what happens in the brain and the body in different types of addictive behavior. Understanding these mechanisms means that new drugs can be developed to block the ghrelin system and used to treat patients who are addicted to alcohol or who suffer from binge-eating disorders.

“This knowledge could also make it easier for society to view dependency as an illness and could mean that these people can get the treatment they need more readily,” says Jerlhag.

For more information, please contact:
Jörgen Engel, registered doctor and professor emeritus at the Department of Pharmacology, Sahlgrenska Academy, tel: +46 (0)31 786 3416, mobile: +46 (0)734 204 412, e-mail: jorgen.engel@pharm.gu.se
Elisabet Jerlhag, researcher at the Department of Pharmacology, Sahlgrenska Academy,

tel: +46 (0)31 786 3418, mobile: +46 (0)736 483 336, e-mail: elisabet.jerlhag@pharm.gu.se

Journal: PlosOne
Title of article: The ghrelin signalling system is involved in the consumption of sweets.

Authors: Sara Landgren, Jeffrey A Simms, Dag S Thelle, Elisabeth Strandhagen, Lauren Lissner, Selena E Bartlett, Jörgen A Engel, Elisabet Jerlhag

Weitere Informationen:
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0018170 - Article

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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Stiffness matters
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>