Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fruit Flies on Methamphetamine Die Largely as a Result of Anorexia

01.08.2012
A new study finds that, like humans, fruit flies exposed to methamphetamine drastically reduce their food intake and increase their physical activity. The study, which tracked metabolic and behavioral changes in fruit flies on meth, indicates that starvation is a primary driver of methamphetamine-related death in the insects.
The new findings are described in The Journal of Toxicological Sciences.
The abuse of methamphetamine can have significant harmful side effects in humans. It burdens the body with toxic metabolic byproducts and weakens the heart, muscles and bones. It alters energy metabolism in the brain and kills brain cells.

Previous studies have shown that the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is a good model organism for studying the effects of methamphetamine on the body and brain. Researchers have found that meth exposure has similar toxicological effects in fruit flies and in humans and other mammals.

Some studies found that supplementing the fly’s diet with added glucose or other metabolic precursors slowed the damaging effects of exposure to methamphetamine, suggesting that meth has a profoundly negative effect on metabolism. Human meth users are known to crave sugary drinks, an indication that their sugar metabolism, too, is altered by methamphetamine use.

“But previous research has not spelled out exactly how methamphetamine use affects energy metabolism,” said University of Illinois entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh, who led the new study with postdoctoral researcher Kent Walters. “Either it alters the expression of metabolic genes and/or the function of proteins, or it changes behaviors related to feeding and activity.”

To test these competing hypotheses, the researchers monitored the fruit flies’ energy reserves and other byproducts of metabolism in response to meth

exposure – with and without the addition of dietary glucose. They also tracked how meth affected the flies’ feeding behavior, activity levels and respiration rates.

“We found that methamphetamine in the diet increased the flies’ locomotor activity two-fold and decreased their food consumption by 60 to 80 percent,” Walters said. Levels of triglycerides and glycogen, the two predominant energy storage molecules in animals, decreased steadily with meth exposure over a 48-hour period, suggesting that meth induced a negative caloric balance.

“This is very similar to what has been observed in humans for whom amphetamines can cause increased physical activity and decreased appetite,” Walters said.

The flies’ metabolic rate also declined in response to meth exposure, the opposite of what would be expected if metabolic changes were driving the depletion of triglycerides and glycogen.

Adding glucose to the diet slowed the rate of decline and death in meth-fed flies, Walters said.

“While methamphetamine exposure has a lot of other toxic effects that also undermine an animal’s health, we show that meth exposure leads to anorexia and the resulting caloric deficit exhausts the animal’s metabolic reserves,” he said. “This is likely a primary factor in meth-induced mortality.”

The new findings further support the usefulness of the fruit fly as a model system to study the effects of methamphetamines, Pittendrigh said.

The paper, “Methamphetamine causes anorexia in Drosophila melanogaster, exhausting metabolic reserves and contributing to mortality,” is available online: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jts

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria
22.03.2019 | Harvard University

nachricht Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack
22.03.2019 | Rice University

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 taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack

22.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Open source software helps researchers extract key insights from huge sensor datasets

22.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>