Feeds

Drunk, stoned mice shed light on addiction

Nice work, if you can get it

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.