Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene linked to alcoholism

26.05.2004


Alcoholism tends to run in families, suggesting that addiction, at least in part, has an underlying genetic cause. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a gene linked to alcohol dependency.



Laboratory mice deficient in the gene were found to consume excessive amounts of alcohol, preferring ethanol to water and evincing highly anxious behavior in a maze test.

Results of the study are published in the May 26 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.


The gene the researchers investigated manufactures a protein called CREB, or cyclic AMP responsive element binding protein, which is known to regulate brain function during development and learning.

"This is the first direct evidence that a deficiency in the CREB gene is associated with anxiety and alcohol-drinking behaviors," said Subhash Pandey, associate professor of psychiatry and director of neuroscience alcoholism research at the UIC College of Medicine.

When CREB is activated, it regulates the production of a brain protein called neuropeptide Y. Low levels of active CREB or of neuropeptide Y correlate with symptoms of anxiety and excessive alcohol consumption, the scientists showed in a previous study.

In the present study, mice that had only one copy of the CREB gene -- healthy mice have two copies -- produced lower-than-normal levels of the CREB protein, neuropeptide Y and another compound in the brain linked with alcohol drinking (called brain derived neurotrophic factor).

The mice consumed about 50 percent more alcohol than normal littermates and showed higher baseline anxiety-like behaviors, as measured by a maze test.

Alcohol exposure reduced their anxiety, though less so than in normal mice, and increased levels of active CREB protein and neuropeptide Y in parts of the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with emotion, fear and anxiety.

Pandey speculated that the animals’ preference for alcohol suggested they used ethanol to lessen their anxiety, a situation than is not uncommon in humans.

"Some 30 to 70 percent of alcoholics are reported to suffer from anxiety and depression. Drinking is a way for these individuals to self-medicate," Pandey said.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol problems. Alcohol abuse costs the economy roughly $185 billion per year.

Other researchers involved in the study were Adip Roy, Huaibo Zhang and Tiejun Xu, postdoctoral research associates in the UIC department of psychiatry. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provided support.

Sharon Butler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu/depts/mcam/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | 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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>