Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brain chemical plays critical role in drinking and anxiety

10.08.2006
A brain protein that sustains nerve cells also regulates anxiety and alcohol consumption in rats, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago report in a study in the Aug. 9 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

In previous studies, the UIC researchers had first identified a gene that controls anxiety and alcohol consumption.

"We knew that gene, called CREB, controls the expression of a number of important genes in the brain," said Dr. Subhash Pandey, professor of psychiatry and anatomy and cell biology at UIC and Jesse Brown VA medical center and lead author of the paper. In the new study, they showed that a protein made by one of those CREB-controlled genes affects anxiety and drinking behavior depending on its level in two areas of the brain.

Pandey and his colleagues injected DNA of complementary sequence to the gene of the protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), into the brains of rats to block the gene from expressing BDNF. The "anti-sense" DNA was injected into three areas of the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with emotion and fear.

The researchers found that when levels of BDNF in the central and medial areas of the amygdala were lowered, anxiety and alcohol consumption increased. Decreased levels of BDNF in the third area, called the basolateral amygdala, had no effect.

When levels of BDNF in the central and medial amygdala were restored to normal by injecting BDNF, anxiety and alcohol consumption diminished.

The researchers measured anxiety by observing the rat's exploratory behavior in a maze. Alcohol consumption was measured by offering the animals one drinking bottle with water and one with alcohol, and noting the proportion of alcohol imbibed.

BDNF plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of neurons. Many human studies have suggested that variations in the BDNF gene may be associated with alcoholism and anxiety disorders, Pandey said.

"In people, alcoholism is very frequently associated with anxiety disorders," he said. "And it is well established that high levels of anxiety promote alcohol consumption and also play a crucial role in relapse to alcohol drinking."

Pandey said the new research may suggest a target for drugs to treat or prevent anxiety and alcoholism.

"Our study suggests a molecular, neurochemical mechanism in the amygdala which may be responsible for the association of high levels of anxiety with excessive alcohol-drinking behavior," he said.

Jeanne Galatzer-Levy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

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

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>