Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UT Southwestern scientist explores caffeine-signaling activity in brain function

29.08.2002


Every morning millions of Americans reach for the world’s most popular drug to help them start their day.



"That drug is caffeine," said Dr. James Bibb, assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Bibb is one of the authors of a new report explaining how caffeine exerts its stimulatory effect by altering the biochemistry of the brain. The findings appear in an August issue of Nature.

"Caffeine is the most frequently self-administered drug in recreational use worldwide today," Bibb said. "And yet we know little about how caffeine works in the brain, whether with the kick from a double espresso or small jolts from tea or cola. We do know it is rewarding, can enhance cognition and performance, and induce dependence at the same time."


Bibb said most people would never consider that the effects of their morning coffee would have any similarities to those of cocaine, long known to be a powerful and dangerous recreational drug. But research is showing that the two stimulants similarly alter a specific signaling activity within the brain.

The researchers involved in the Nature paper used genetically altered mice lacking DARPP-32, a protein known to play a role in drug addiction, to explore questions about caffeine’s stimulant effects. Normal mice given a 7.5 milligram/kilogram dose of caffeine showed a dramatic increase in long-range (locomotion) and short-range (motility) movements for as long as 100 minutes. This amount of caffeine is the equivalent of about three cups of coffee for a person weighing 160 pounds. When scientists gave the mice lacking DARPP-32 the same dose, it had little effect. Only by doubling the dose to 15 mg/kg were researchers able to overcome the knockout effect of gene deletion.

Bibb said these results were similar to those of his previous studies that explored the same biochemical pathways activated by cocaine.

Bibb explained that it has been known for some time that caffeine owes much of its stimulant action to its ability to block receptors, such as those for adenosine, in the brain. Adenosine, one of the four building blocks of DNA and an important signaling molecule in the brain, forms the backbone of the energy-storage molecule ATP. ATP helps maintain equilibrium, or balance, between its energy use and electrical activity throughout the cells, sending signals along specific brain pathways.

Bibb is a former Rockefeller University scientist who is continuing his research at UT Southwestern on the processes in the brain that control addiction and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. Much of his research involves identifying processes that regulate brain biochemistry and determining how these are triggered by specific drugs of abuse or neuropsychiatric diseases. Some of his early findings on these biochemical pathways and how cocaine affects them have appeared in two earlier reports in Nature.

Bibb said insights into the mechanisms of both cocaine and caffeine on the brain have led him to investigate the processes in the brain that control sleep. He is currently working on new sleep studies with other scientists, including Dr. Robert Greene, vice chairman of psychiatry for VA services at UT Southwestern.

"We find that in the brain many processes are related, and it is well-known that caffeine can induce insomnia and that adenosine can induce sleep. By studying sleep we may also learn more about drug addiction and other disorders," Bibb said.

Ann Harrell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://lists.utsouthwestern.edu/mailman/listinfo/utswnews

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy
25.07.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Chances to treat childhood dementia
24.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>