Fruit flies may offer drug addiction treatment

Updated: Dec 04, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: Scientists suggest that fruit flies can prove to be an effective research model for studying the effects of cocaine and other drugs abuse on the brain.

Andrew Ewing and colleagues note that laboratory mice, rats, and monkeys have been mainstays in research with the ultimate goal of finding effective medicines for treating addiction.

Although these mammals have helped establish the behavioural effects of cocaine on the body, they provide relatively complicated models to study the effects of cocaine and other illicit drugs on the brain and nerves.

In the hope for a new simpler animal model they turned to fruit flies, which have many biological similarities to mammals, but are easier to study.

The scientists confirmed that use of fruit flies in research involving giving cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and methylphenidate and later studying brain chemistry with a microelectrode one-twentieth the diameter of a human hair, could offer significant clues.

The study appears online in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, a new monthly journal.