Feeds

Drunk, stoned mice shed light on addiction

Nice work, if you can get it

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Researchers in the US have discovered that the part of the brain that makes it fun to get stoned, also makes it pleasurable to get drunk .

The tests, which were carried out on mice, confirmed that the so-called cannabinoid receptors known as CB1, are also stimulated by drinking alcohol. The CB1 receptors are directly involved in triggering what the researchers call "the reinforcing properties" of both substances.

Panayotis Thanos, lead author of this study, and a neuroscientist at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, said that the results improved the general understanding of the role these receptors play in alcohol abuse. They also shed light on how a person's genes could affect their susceptibility to addiction.

The researchers tested three groups of mice: the control group with a normal set of CB1 receptors, a group with half of the CB1 receptors blocked, and a third group with all the receptors blocked.

The mice were conditioned to expect alcohol in a particular part of their cage, and saline solution in another. The researchers then monitored the amount of time the mice spent hanging around in the alcoholic portion of the cage, effectively looking for a drink, and compared it with how long they spent elsewhere.

The mice with the blocked CB1 receptors showed no particular preference for either the alcohol or the saline solution. The mice with no blockers, on the other hand, clustered in the alcohol chamber like undergraduate students in the local students' union bar. Those with half their CB1s blocked were somewhere in between the other two groups.

"These results support our belief that the cannabinoid system and CB1 receptors play a critical role in mediating the rewarding and pleasurable properties of alcohol, contributing to alcohol dependency and abuse...[and] provide further evidence for a genetic component to alcohol abuse that includes the CB1 gene - the same gene that is important for the behavioural effects of marijuana," Thanos said.

The researchers hope that ultimately, their work will be useful in developing effective treatments for addiction. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.