Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tolerance To Inhalants May Be Caused By Changes In Gene Expression

Date:
October 19, 2007
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Changes in the expression of genes may be the reason why people who abuse inhalants, such as spray paint or glue, quickly develop a tolerance, biologists have discovered. This is the first study to show that a single drug experience alters the response of an animal to future doses by epigenetically modifying a single gene.

Changes in the expression of genes may be the reason why people who abuse inhalants, such as spray paint or glue, quickly develop a tolerance, biologists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered.

Related Articles


The team, led by graduate student Yan Wang, used the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to determine how the nervous system becomes tolerant to sedation with organic solvent inhalants.

"Drug tolerance causes the user to consume more of the drug, speeding them down the path of addiction," said Nigel Atkinson, an associate professor of neurobiology who supervised the research.

This is the first study to show that a single drug experience alters the response of an animal to future doses by epigenetically modifying a single gene.

The research lays the groundwork for understanding mechanisms of inhalant addiction in humans, and it is hoped, developing methods of treatment and recovery. Because the effects of organic solvent inhalants and alcohol on animals are similar, this work may also be relevant to understanding the response of the brain to alcohol.

When fruit flies are sedated with an organic solvent, the expression of the slo K+ channel gene increases. Increased expression of the gene enables the fruit flies to recover faster from sedation. This gene is very similar to the human slo gene.

Wang and colleagues sedated fruit flies with the organic solvent benzyl alcohol, then documented changes in chromosomal structures called histones. Histones are positively charged protein structures that bind to negatively charged DNA. They organize and control access to the DNA.

Benzyl alcohol sedation made the charge of the histone more negative, "relaxing the grip" of the DNA to the histones in a part of the slo gene that controls its expression.

When the chromatin is in a relaxed state, gene transcription occurs more frequently.

The researchers predict that increased expression of the slo channels, through epigenetic modifications to the histones, helped neurons recover from sedation and resist the effects of the drug, increasing tolerance.

"While the fruit fly seems very different from us, the cells of its nervous system are remarkably similar to ours and can be used to understand how drugs change our brains," Atkinson said.

 The team's work appears in the October 16 issue of Public Library of Science-Biology.

This work was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Tolerance To Inhalants May Be Caused By Changes In Gene Expression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071017131911.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2007, October 19). Tolerance To Inhalants May Be Caused By Changes In Gene Expression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071017131911.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Tolerance To Inhalants May Be Caused By Changes In Gene Expression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071017131911.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. 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