Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene linked to alcoholism

26.05.2004


Alcoholism tends to run in families, suggesting that addiction, at least in part, has an underlying genetic cause. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a gene linked to alcohol dependency.



Laboratory mice deficient in the gene were found to consume excessive amounts of alcohol, preferring ethanol to water and evincing highly anxious behavior in a maze test.

Results of the study are published in the May 26 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.


The gene the researchers investigated manufactures a protein called CREB, or cyclic AMP responsive element binding protein, which is known to regulate brain function during development and learning.

"This is the first direct evidence that a deficiency in the CREB gene is associated with anxiety and alcohol-drinking behaviors," said Subhash Pandey, associate professor of psychiatry and director of neuroscience alcoholism research at the UIC College of Medicine.

When CREB is activated, it regulates the production of a brain protein called neuropeptide Y. Low levels of active CREB or of neuropeptide Y correlate with symptoms of anxiety and excessive alcohol consumption, the scientists showed in a previous study.

In the present study, mice that had only one copy of the CREB gene -- healthy mice have two copies -- produced lower-than-normal levels of the CREB protein, neuropeptide Y and another compound in the brain linked with alcohol drinking (called brain derived neurotrophic factor).

The mice consumed about 50 percent more alcohol than normal littermates and showed higher baseline anxiety-like behaviors, as measured by a maze test.

Alcohol exposure reduced their anxiety, though less so than in normal mice, and increased levels of active CREB protein and neuropeptide Y in parts of the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with emotion, fear and anxiety.

Pandey speculated that the animals’ preference for alcohol suggested they used ethanol to lessen their anxiety, a situation than is not uncommon in humans.

"Some 30 to 70 percent of alcoholics are reported to suffer from anxiety and depression. Drinking is a way for these individuals to self-medicate," Pandey said.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol problems. Alcohol abuse costs the economy roughly $185 billion per year.

Other researchers involved in the study were Adip Roy, Huaibo Zhang and Tiejun Xu, postdoctoral research associates in the UIC department of psychiatry. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provided support.

Sharon Butler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu/depts/mcam/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>