Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Chemical Plays Critical Role In Drinking And Anxiety

Date:
August 8, 2006
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
A brain protein that sustains nerve cells also regulates anxiety and alcohol consumption in rats, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago report.

A brain protein that sustains nerve cells also regulates anxiety and alcohol consumption in rats, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago report in a study in the Aug. 9 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

In previous studies, the UIC researchers had first identified a gene that controls anxiety and alcohol consumption.

"We knew that gene, called CREB, controls the expression of a number of important genes in the brain," said Dr. Subhash Pandey, professor of psychiatry and anatomy and cell biology at UIC and Jesse Brown VA medical center and lead author of the paper. In the new study, they showed that a protein made by one of those CREB-controlled genes affects anxiety and drinking behavior depending on its level in two areas of the brain.

Pandey and his colleagues injected DNA of complementary sequence to the gene of the protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), into the brains of rats to block the gene from expressing BDNF. The "anti-sense" DNA was injected into three areas of the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with emotion and fear.

The researchers found that when levels of BDNF in the central and medial areas of the amygdala were lowered, anxiety and alcohol consumption increased. Decreased levels of BDNF in the third area, called the basolateral amygdala, had no effect.

When levels of BDNF in the central and medial amygdala were restored to normal by injecting BDNF, anxiety and alcohol consumption diminished.

The researchers measured anxiety by observing the rat's exploratory behavior in a maze. Alcohol consumption was measured by offering the animals one drinking bottle with water and one with alcohol, and noting the proportion of alcohol imbibed.

BDNF plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of neurons. Many human studies have suggested that variations in the BDNF gene may be associated with alcoholism and anxiety disorders, Pandey said.

"In people, alcoholism is very frequently associated with anxiety disorders," he said. "And it is well established that high levels of anxiety promote alcohol consumption and also play a crucial role in relapse to alcohol drinking."

Pandey said the new research may suggest a target for drugs to treat or prevent anxiety and alcoholism.

"Our study suggests a molecular, neurochemical mechanism in the amygdala which may be responsible for the association of high levels of anxiety with excessive alcohol-drinking behavior," he said.

Huaibo Zhang, Adip Roy and Kaushik Misra of UIC co-authored the study. The research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Department of Veteran Affairs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Brain Chemical Plays Critical Role In Drinking And Anxiety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060808184435.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2006, August 8). Brain Chemical Plays Critical Role In Drinking And Anxiety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060808184435.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Brain Chemical Plays Critical Role In Drinking And Anxiety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060808184435.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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:
from the past week

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