Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene controlling circadian rhythms linked to drug addiction

14.06.2005


The gene that regulates the body’s main biological clocks also may play a pivotal role in drug addiction, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.



The Clock gene not only controls the body’s circadian rhythms, including sleep and wakefulness, body temperature, hormone levels, blood pressure and heart activity, it may also be a key regulator of the brain’s reward system.

UT Southwestern researchers showed that, in mice, the Clock gene regulates the reward response to cocaine, suggesting that similar actions take place in humans. Findings from the multi-center study are available online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "We found that the Clock gene is not only involved in regulating sleep/wake cycles, but is also very involved in regulating the rewarding responses to drugs of abuse," said Dr. Colleen A. McClung, assistant instructor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and the study’s lead author. "It does so through its actions on dopamine pathways."


Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with the "pleasure system" of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment from certain activities. Dopamine is released by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex and the use of certain drugs.

In the study, mice that lacked the Clock gene were injected with cocaine. Not only did the mice experience problems with their circadian cycles – not sleeping as much and becoming more hyperactive – they also found cocaine more rewarding than control mice, demonstrated by their strong preference for the location where the drug was administered.

In addition, Clock-deficient mice produced more dopamine than control mice did, suggesting that the gene controlling circadian rhythms is a key regulator of the brain’s reward system and may influence the addictive properties of drugs such as cocaine.

"We tracked dopamine cells in the mice brains and found that these cells fired more rapidly and showed a pattern called bursting, which leads to an usually large dopamine release," Dr. McClung said. "We also found that more dopamine is produced and released in these mice under normal conditions and particularly after exposure to cocaine."

Dr. Eric Nestler, chairman of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and the study’s senior author, said the results suggest there may be a link in disruption of circadian rhythms and the tendency to abuse drugs.

"Most work on Clock has focused on the brain’s master pacemaker, located in a brain area called the suprachiasmatic nucleus," said Dr. Nestler. "The novelty of Dr. McClung’s findings is the role Clock plays in brain reward pathways. The next step is to examine Clock and related genes in human addicts."

Donna Steph Hansard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>