Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Missing enzyme linked to drug addiction

18.06.2013
A missing brain enzyme increases concentrations of a protein related to pain-killer addiction, according to an animal study. The results will be presented Monday at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Opioids are pain-killing drugs, derived from the opium plant, which block signals of pain between nerves in the body. They are manufactured in prescription medications like morphine and codeine, and also are found in some illegal drugs, like heroin. Both legal and illegal opioids can be highly addictive.

In addition to the synthetic opioids, natural opioids are produced by the body. Most people have heard of the so-called feel-good endorphins, which are opioid-like proteins produced by various organs in the body in response to certain activities, like exercise.

Drug addiction occurs, in part, because opioid-containing drugs alter the brain's biochemical balance of naturally produced opioids. Nationwide, drug abuse of opioid-containing prescription drugs is skyrocketing, and researchers are trying to identify the risk factors that differentiate people who get addicted from those who do not.

In this particular animal model, researchers eliminated an enzyme called prohormone convertase 2, or PC2, which normally converts pre-hormonal substances into active hormones in certain parts of the brain. Previous research by this team demonstrated that PC2 levels increase after long-term morphine treatment, according to study lead author Theodore C. Friedman, MD, PhD, chairman of the internal medicine department at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.
"This raises the possibility that PC2-derived peptides may be involved in some of the addiction parameters related to morphine," Friedman said. For this study, Friedman and his co-researchers analyzed the effects of morphine on the brain after knocking out the PC2 enzyme in mice. Morphine normally binds to a protein on cells known as the mu opioid receptor, or MOR. They found that MOR concentrations were higher in mice lacking PC2, compared to other mice.

To analyze the effects of PC2 elimination, the researchers examined MOR levels in specific parts of the brain that are related to pain relief, as well as to behaviors associated with reward and addiction. They measured these levels using a scientific test called immunohistochemistry, which uses specific antibodies to identify the cells in which proteins are expressed.

"In this study, we found that PC2 knockout mice have higher levels of MOR in brain regions related to drug addiction," Friedman said. "We conclude that PC2 regulates endogenous opioids involved in the addiction response and in its absence, up-regulation of MOR expression occurs in key brain areas related to drug addiction."

The National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Drug Abuse funded the study.

Aaron Lohr | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.endocrine.org

Further reports about: MOR Missing Persons PC2 brain area brain region drug addiction risk factor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New findings on how cardiac arrhythmias develop
05.05.2015 | CECAD - Cluster of Excellence at the University of Cologne

nachricht Puget Sound's clingfish could inspire better medical devices, whale tags
05.05.2015 | University of Washington

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The random raman laser: A new light source for the microcosmos

Texas A&M University researchers demonstrate how a narrow-band strobe light source for speckle-free imaging has the potential to reveal microscopic forms of life

In modern microscope imaging techniques, lasers are used as light sources because they can deliver fast pulsed and extremely high-intensity radiation to a...

Im Focus: Pulsar with widest orbit ever detected

Discovered by high school research team

A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the National Science Foundation's...

Im Focus: Erosion, landslides and monsoon across the Himalaya

Scientists from Nepal, Switzerland and Germany was now able to show how erosion processes caused by the monsoon are mirrored in the sediment load of a river crossing the Himalaya.

In these days, it was again tragically demonstrated that the Himalayas are one of the most active geodynamic regions of the world. Landslides belong to the...

Im Focus: Through the galaxy by taxi - The Dream Chaser Space Utility Vehicle

A world-class prime systems integrator and electronic systems provider known for its rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is currently developing a new space transportation system called the Dream Chaser.

The ultimate aim is to construct a multi-mission-capable space utility vehicle, while accelerating the overall development process for this critical capability...

Im Focus: High-tech textiles – more than just clothes

Today, textiles are used for more than just clothes or bags – they are high tech materials for high-tech applications. High-tech textiles must fulfill a number of functions and meet many requirements. That is why the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC dedicated some major developing work to this most intriguing research area. The result can now be seen at Techtextil trade show in Frankfurt from 4 to 7 May. On display will be novel textile-integrated sensors, a unique multifunctional coating system for textiles and fibers, and textile processing of glass, carbon, and ceramics fibers to fiber preforms.

Thin materials and new kinds of sensors now make it possible to integrate silicone elastomer sensors in textiles. They are suitable for applications in medical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Green Summit 2015: the summit of the essential

05.05.2015 | Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

From brittle to plastic in 1 breath

05.05.2015 | Materials Sciences

Ocean currents disturb methane-eating bacteria

05.05.2015 | Earth Sciences

Slowdown after Ice Age sounds a warning for Great Barrier Reef's future

05.05.2015 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>