Alcohol, like any other substance that reinforces behaviour, such as another drug of abuse or even food, has a certain capacity to enhance social memory, that is, the ability to remember other individuals. If a mouse is administered alcohol immediately after being introduced to another animal of its own kind, the former will recognise the latter sooner. This phenomenon, which has significant implications when it comes to understanding the process underlying alcohol addiction, does not have a definitive explanation. However, a team of researchers from the Psychobiology Department at the University Jaume I (Spain) has revealed a part of the mystery, since they have proved that the substance responsible for enhancing social memory is not ethanol, but another compound derived from alcohol metabolism in the brain, namely, acetaldehyde.
The UJI team, headed by Psychobiology Professor Carlos González Aragón, has been working for years conducting experiments to prove that alcohol is metabolised not only in the liver but also in certain areas of the brain where important amounts of ethanol are processed through the action of an enzyme known as catalase. The substance derived from these reactions, acetaldehyde, is involved in many of the changes of behaviour typically associated to alcohol. Catalase metabolises alcohol in the brain and gives rise to a certain amount of acetaldehyde that, according to the researchers, would be responsible for the effects attributed to ethanol. If substances that enhance the action of catalase are administered, a higher production of acetaldehyde and a boost in its effects are observed, while acetaldehyde and most of the effects of ethanol are not produced when catalase inhibitors are used after having consumed a certain amount of alcohol.
Up to now, however, researchers had proved that brain catalase was involved in the stimulating effect of ethanol, but its role in complex cognitive processes such as learning and memory had not been dealt with. The work that we are now bringing to light, and which is the main point in the thesis of researcher Héctor Marín, proves this involvement. By administering catalase enhancers and inhibitors to mice, Marín has shown how the enzyme intervenes in the reinforcement of social memory.
Hugo Cerdà | alfa
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy