Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UT Southwestern scientist explores caffeine-signaling activity in brain function

29.08.2002


Every morning millions of Americans reach for the world’s most popular drug to help them start their day.



"That drug is caffeine," said Dr. James Bibb, assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Bibb is one of the authors of a new report explaining how caffeine exerts its stimulatory effect by altering the biochemistry of the brain. The findings appear in an August issue of Nature.

"Caffeine is the most frequently self-administered drug in recreational use worldwide today," Bibb said. "And yet we know little about how caffeine works in the brain, whether with the kick from a double espresso or small jolts from tea or cola. We do know it is rewarding, can enhance cognition and performance, and induce dependence at the same time."


Bibb said most people would never consider that the effects of their morning coffee would have any similarities to those of cocaine, long known to be a powerful and dangerous recreational drug. But research is showing that the two stimulants similarly alter a specific signaling activity within the brain.

The researchers involved in the Nature paper used genetically altered mice lacking DARPP-32, a protein known to play a role in drug addiction, to explore questions about caffeine’s stimulant effects. Normal mice given a 7.5 milligram/kilogram dose of caffeine showed a dramatic increase in long-range (locomotion) and short-range (motility) movements for as long as 100 minutes. This amount of caffeine is the equivalent of about three cups of coffee for a person weighing 160 pounds. When scientists gave the mice lacking DARPP-32 the same dose, it had little effect. Only by doubling the dose to 15 mg/kg were researchers able to overcome the knockout effect of gene deletion.

Bibb said these results were similar to those of his previous studies that explored the same biochemical pathways activated by cocaine.

Bibb explained that it has been known for some time that caffeine owes much of its stimulant action to its ability to block receptors, such as those for adenosine, in the brain. Adenosine, one of the four building blocks of DNA and an important signaling molecule in the brain, forms the backbone of the energy-storage molecule ATP. ATP helps maintain equilibrium, or balance, between its energy use and electrical activity throughout the cells, sending signals along specific brain pathways.

Bibb is a former Rockefeller University scientist who is continuing his research at UT Southwestern on the processes in the brain that control addiction and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. Much of his research involves identifying processes that regulate brain biochemistry and determining how these are triggered by specific drugs of abuse or neuropsychiatric diseases. Some of his early findings on these biochemical pathways and how cocaine affects them have appeared in two earlier reports in Nature.

Bibb said insights into the mechanisms of both cocaine and caffeine on the brain have led him to investigate the processes in the brain that control sleep. He is currently working on new sleep studies with other scientists, including Dr. Robert Greene, vice chairman of psychiatry for VA services at UT Southwestern.

"We find that in the brain many processes are related, and it is well-known that caffeine can induce insomnia and that adenosine can induce sleep. By studying sleep we may also learn more about drug addiction and other disorders," Bibb said.

Ann Harrell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://lists.utsouthwestern.edu/mailman/listinfo/utswnews

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inselspital: Fewer CT scans needed after cerebral bleeding
20.03.2019 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

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: 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 >>>