Previous studies have identified a link between the gene and alcoholism, but the latest study is the first time that a specific gene mutation and a causal link between alcoholism.
Compared with normal mice, have a gene mutation in mice stimulated will get greater returns from drinking alcohol.
Scientists believe that the same gene in humans similar changes, it is possible to make contact with those who have alcohol greatly increases the risk of becoming an alcoholic. A hepatologist at Newcastle University, said Quentin Anstee, previous studies have identified a link between the gene and alcoholism, but the latest study is the first time that a specific gene mutation and a causal link between alcoholism. Dr. Anstee said: “causal relationship has not been proven before, this is the key difference between our study and research before between.”
This mutation occurs in the brain cells of a GABA synapse protein receptors. This gene appears small changes in mice brain is very active, especially in the nucleus accumbens is known as the “pleasure center”, the mice will actively seek and prefer blended with 10% ethanol in water (relative to the concentration of alcohol). Said Dr. Anstee, no ordinary mouse mutations will avoid alcohol, but more like water. However, the mutant mice after drinking too much alcohol, and will continue even if you have drunk alcohol craving.
He said: “It is very surprising that a small change in a single gene complex on the drinking behavior of such amazing impact they obviously get pleasure from alcohol and that they will not get bored and will continue. Drinking. “This effect is particularly evident in the nucleus accumbens, the nucleus accumbens of human and mouse functions are controlled emotions and a sense of joy in return. This means that mutations in mice compared with ordinary mice will get more rewards from alcohol stimuli, which may also apply to humans.
Dr. Anstee said: “GABA receptor protein mutation changed its structure, and spontaneous electrical activity in the nucleus accumbens region increases the pleasure receptors in these signals, the mice craving for alcohol references will be more lasting. A person’s risk of becoming an alcoholic about 50% depending on the gene, so humans GABA receptor proteins will become a potential target for new therapies, which could be a really incredible drug targets, but we can not short period of time, because the human situation may become more complex. ”