Study reveals the roots of alcohol addiction

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Millions of people around the world struggle with their excessive dependence on alcohol. A new research on this form of addiction has thrown some light into the cellular mechanism linked with it.

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) scientists found out that this signaling pathway has been regulated by a gene, called neurofibromatosis type 1 (Nf1) linked with excessive drinking in mice. Nf1 regulates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that lowers anxiety and increases feelings of relaxation.

How Nf1 exactly affects the brain hasn't been made clear yet. The TSRI scientists suspected that Nf1 might be relevant to alcohol-related GABA activity in an area of the brain called the central amygdala, which was important in decision-making and stress- and addiction-related processes.

TSRI Research Associate, Melissa Herman, said that as GABA release in the central amygdala has been shown to be critical in the transition from recreational drinking to alcohol dependence, they thought that Nf1 regulation of GABA release might be relevant to alcohol consumption.


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