Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic changes behind sweet tooth

05.04.2011
The substance ghrelin plays an important role in various addictions, such as alcoholism and binge-eating. It also impacts on sugar consumption, which is due, in part, to genetic factors, reveals new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Ghrelin is a neuropeptide that both activates the brain’s reward system and increases appetite. This means that when we are hungry, levels of ghrelin increase, activating the brain’s reward system, and this, in turn, increases our motivation to look for food. Previous research from the Sahlgrenska Academy has linked ghrelin to the development of various dependencies, such as drug addiction and alcoholism.

In a new study published in the online version of the journal PlosOne, researchers examined the genes of 579 individuals chosen from the general public. It emerged that people with certain changes in the ghrelin gene consume more sugar than their peers who do not have these changes. This link was also seen in people who consumed large amounts of both sugar and alcohol.

Trials have also been carried out using rats, where the researchers found that when ghrelin was blocked the rats reduced their consumption of sugar and were less motivated to hunt for sugar.

“This shows that ghrelin is a strong driver when it comes to tracking down rewarding substances such as sugar or alcohol,” says researcher Elisabet Jerlhag from the Sahlgrenska Academy’s Department of Pharmacology.

These results go hand in hand with the researchers’ previous findings which showed that substances that block the ghrelin system reduce the positive effects of addictive drugs and that changes in the ghrelin gene are associated with high alcohol consumption, weight gain in alcoholics and smoking.

The researchers are now a step closer to understanding what happens in the brain and the body in different types of addictive behavior. Understanding these mechanisms means that new drugs can be developed to block the ghrelin system and used to treat patients who are addicted to alcohol or who suffer from binge-eating disorders.

“This knowledge could also make it easier for society to view dependency as an illness and could mean that these people can get the treatment they need more readily,” says Jerlhag.

For more information, please contact:
Jörgen Engel, registered doctor and professor emeritus at the Department of Pharmacology, Sahlgrenska Academy, tel: +46 (0)31 786 3416, mobile: +46 (0)734 204 412, e-mail: jorgen.engel@pharm.gu.se
Elisabet Jerlhag, researcher at the Department of Pharmacology, Sahlgrenska Academy,

tel: +46 (0)31 786 3418, mobile: +46 (0)736 483 336, e-mail: elisabet.jerlhag@pharm.gu.se

Journal: PlosOne
Title of article: The ghrelin signalling system is involved in the consumption of sweets.

Authors: Sara Landgren, Jeffrey A Simms, Dag S Thelle, Elisabeth Strandhagen, Lauren Lissner, Selena E Bartlett, Jörgen A Engel, Elisabet Jerlhag

Weitere Informationen:
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0018170 - Article

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanobot pumps destroy nerve agents
21.08.2018 | American Chemical Society

nachricht How do muscles know what time it is?
21.08.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biosensor allows real-time oxygen monitoring for 'organs-on-a-chip'

21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

Researchers discover link between magnetic field strength and temperature

21.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

IHP technology ready for space flights

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>