Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research Yields New Insights Into Molecular Control Of Addiction

Date:
April 25, 2002
Source:
NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse
Summary:
In research employing fruit flies, scientists at the University of Arizona have provided new insights into how molecules may control addiction, memory formation, and brain plasticity. Their research has provided the first evidence that the molecule AP1, which helps to regulate changes in the manufacture of certain proteins in brain cells, also is required for long-term changes in the function of synapses (the connections between brain cells).

In research employing fruit flies, scientists at the University of Arizona have provided new insights into how molecules may control addiction, memory formation, and brain plasticity. Their research has provided the first evidence that the molecule AP1, which helps to regulate changes in the manufacture of certain proteins in brain cells, also is required for long-term changes in the function of synapses (the connections between brain cells).

Related Articles


The study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is published in the April 25, 2002 issue of Nature. NIDA Acting Director Dr. Glen R. Hanson says that “understanding addiction at the molecular level will help in the search for new pharmacologic agents to treat or interrupt the biological processes that result in addiction.”

It has been known that long-term behavioral changes, such as drug addiction, are associated with changes in the manufacture of certain proteins in brain cells. Animal studies have identified a few key molecules such as CREB and AP1 that regulate these changes. For example, a variant form of AP1, called deltaFosB, is produced in the brain after multiple exposures to cocaine and controls long-term sensitization to the drug.

The prevailing view is that production of AP1 is activated by CREB. Once produced, AP1 helps CREB direct the manufacture of a subset of proteins required to modify the function of brain cells that control behavior.

Lead investigator Dr. Mani Ramaswami says that although it had been believed that AP1 helps generate changes in synapses, direct evidence has been lacking until now.

The Arizona researchers analyzed the role of AP1 in synaptic change. A surprise finding, says Dr. Ramaswami, is that the synaptic changes controlled by AP1 are more extensive than those controlled by CREB, and more closely resemble synaptic changes induced by real experience. Also unexpected was the observation that the activity of AP1 was increased by a protein called JNK which was not previously known to function in synaptic change.

Dr. Ramaswami says, “Although these observations and conclusions were made from analysis of a synapse in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, several molecules that affect plasticity at this synapse have a similar function in mammalian brain cells.” These findings, he explains, “ suggest that pharmacological drugs that activate or inhibit JNK or AP1 could have profound effects on brain plasticity processes that are involved in drug addiction, memory formation and even recovery from brain injury.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish through NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 1-888-TTY-NIDA (889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse. "Research Yields New Insights Into Molecular Control Of Addiction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020425072754.htm>.
NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse. (2002, April 25). Research Yields New Insights Into Molecular Control Of Addiction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020425072754.htm
NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse. "Research Yields New Insights Into Molecular Control Of Addiction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020425072754.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins