Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Controversial drug shown to act on brain protein to cut alcohol use

19.01.2005


A naturally occurring hallucinogen advocated by some clinicians as a potent anti-addiction drug has been rigorously studied for the first time, confirming its ability to block alcohol craving in rodents, and clarifying how it works in the brain. The new research findings about the drug Ibogaine open the way for development of other drugs to reverse addiction without Ibogaine’s side effects, potentially adding to the small arsenal of drugs that effectively combat addiction.

Derived from a West African shrub, Ibogaine has been championed for years by a cadre of clinicians and drug treatment advocates impressed with its ability to reverse withdrawal symptoms and craving for alcohol and various drugs of abuse. It has been used outside of the U.S. to treat addiction by American and other clinicians. But its side effects, including hallucinations, which made it popular in the 1960s drug culture, and evidence of toxicity to certain nerve cells in rodent studies have discouraged careful studies of its clinical potential against drug and alcohol addiction. The FDA has not approved use of Ibogaine in the U.S.

Scientists at UCSF’s Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center have now shown definitively in experiments with mice and rats that Ibogaine does reduce alcohol consumption, and they have determined that it does so by increasing the level of a brain protein known as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, or GDNF. In a separate study, they demonstrated that GDNF by itself decreases alcohol consumption.



The research is being published in the January 19 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"By identifying the brain protein that Ibogaine regulates to reduce alcohol consumption in rats, we have established a link between GDNF and reversal of addiction -- knowledge of a molecular mechanism that should allow development of a new class of drugs to treat addiction without Ibogaine’s side effects," said Dorit Ron, PhD, UCSF associate professor of neurology and also principal investigator at the Gallo Center. Ron is co-senior author of the paper with Patricia Janak, PhD, UCSF assistant professor of neurology and also principal investigator at the Gallo Center.

In their research, the scientists first carried out classic behavioral studies showing that Ibogaine reduced alcohol consumption. They induced the rats to consume alcohol in daily drinking sessions and then demonstrated that their drinking declined precipitously when they received Ibogaine. The drug was administered either by injection or directly into the same brain region where GDNF levels were shown to increase.

The research also showed that Ibogaine was quite effective in preventing relapse, or "falling off the wagon" -- the vulnerability of recovered alcoholics or addicts to return to uncontrolled drinking or drug use when exposed to the drug of abuse months or even years after breaking the habit.

In this analysis, the researchers provided alcohol to rats until they had become "experienced" daily drinkers. They then withheld alcohol for two weeks, which normally leads to greatly increased drinking when when alcohol is again available. When they administered Ibogaine, they found that the heightened craving and consumption was significantly reduced.

"The discovery that Ibogaine reduced binge drinking after a period of abstinence was an exciting finding for us because this is the type of behavior in alcoholics for which very few effective drugs exist," Janak said.

The scientists confirmed in a cell model that Ibogaine stimulated GDNF activity. Finally, they showed that a known inhibitor of GDNF blocked Ibogaine’s ability to decrease alcohol craving in the rats, suggesting a direct link between Ibogaine’s desirable actions and GDNF. "If we can alter the GDNF pathway, we may well have a new treatment against alcohol and drug addiction without the unwanted side effects of Ibogaine," Ron said.

Colleagues in the research and coauthors on the paper are postdoctoral fellows Dao-Yao He, PhD, Nancy N.H. McGough, PhHD; Ajay Ravindranathan, PhD; Jerome Jeanblanc, PhD; Marian Logrip, BA, UCSF neurology graduate student; and Khanhky Phamluong, BA, research associate, all at the Gallo Center.

Wallace Ravven | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsf.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

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...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

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...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

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...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>