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 Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>