Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Begin to Decipher Metabolism of Sexual Assault Drug

23.11.2009
It’s a naturally occurring brain chemical with an unwieldy name: 4-hydroxybutyrate (4-HB). Taken by mouth, it can be abused or used as a date-rape drug.

Now, a team of Ohio and Michigan scientists have determined new routes by which 4-HB is metabolized by the body. “This is new and important information,” said K. Michael Gibson, professor and chair of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University and a member of the research team. “It may provide new clues on how to counteract the drug’s effects, or to enhance its metabolism and decrease toxicity for chronic abusers or victims of sexual assault.”

Gibson is co-author with Guo-Fang Zhang and others in the laboratory of Prof. Henri Brunengraber from the Department of Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine of a paper published online today by the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Their findings will appear in as “paper of the week” in the print edition of the weekly journal on Nov. 27, 2009.

4-HB is a derivative of a major brain neurotransmitter in humans and other species. . It occurs naturally in small amounts in the brains of most animals and humans. In a rare genetic metabolic disorder, 4-HB accumulates in extremely high levels, causing significant developmental delays and seizures.

But 4-HB—also called gamma hydroxybutyrate or GHB—is best known and most feared when it is taken orally, because it is a drug that impairs the capacity to exercise judgment, like rohypnol and ketamine hydrochloride.. For that reason, it can be used to facilitate acquaintance sexual assault, commonly called date rape.

Analyzing the chemicals produced by the breakdown of 4-HB in mice and rats, Zhang, Gibson and colleagues used very sophisticated mass spectrometry approaches to identify previously unknown enzymes and pathways that appear to act on 4-HB and other similarly structured compounds. They discovered that 4-HB is metabolized by two different chemical mechanisms or pathways. Their discovery of those pathways should open the door for future studies that can identify the enzymes involved in the following steps of the breakdown of 4-HB.

“This work may help to develop new antidotes and treatments for people who have ingested 4-HB, as well as treatment for children with the rare genetic disorder that causes the compound to accumulate in high levels,” Gibson said. (For more information on genetic disorders of 4-HB, see www.pndassoc.org)

The 4-HB research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Cleveland Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation

Jennifer Donovan | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.mtu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nerves control the body’s bacterial community
26.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Ageless ears? Elderly barn owls do not become hard of hearing
26.09.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

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 fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nerves control the body’s bacterial community

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Four elements make 2-D optical platform

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>