Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain DNA 'Remodeled' In Alcoholism

Date:
April 4, 2008
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Reshaping of the DNA scaffolding that supports and controls the expression of genes in the brain may play a major role in alcohol withdrawal symptoms, particularly anxiety, that makes it so difficult to stop using alcohol by alcoholics, researchers report in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Reshaping of the DNA scaffolding that supports and controls the expression of genes in the brain may play a major role in the alcohol withdrawal symptoms, particularly anxiety, that make it so difficult for alcoholics to stop using alcohol.

Related Articles


The finding is reported by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in the April 2 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

DNA can undergo changes in function without any changes in inheritance or coded sequence. These "epigenetic" changes are minor chemical modifications of chromatin -- dense bundles of DNA and proteins called histones.

"This is the first time anyone has looked for epigenetic changes related to chromatin remodeling in the brain during alcohol addiction," said Dr. Subhash C. Pandey, professor and director of neuroscience alcoholism research at the UIC College of Medicine and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, the lead author of the study.

Chemical modification of histones can change the way DNA and histones are wound up together. Histone acetyltransferases (HATs) are enzymes that add acetyl groups to histones and loosen the packing, promoting gene expression. On the other hand, histone deacetylases (HDACs) remove acetyl groups from histones, causing them to wrap with DNA more tightly, decreasing gene expression.

The UIC researchers had previously shown in an animal model that levels of neuropeptide Y in the amygdala modulate anxiety and alcohol-drinking behavior. In the new study, they looked at the HDAC activity, acetylation of histones, and expression of the genes for NPY in the amygdala and the anxiety-like behaviors associated with withdrawal from chronic alcohol use.

Pandey and his colleagues found that acute exposure to alcohol decreases HDAC activity; increases the acetylation histones; increases levels of NPY -- and reduced anxiety in the animals.

Conversely, anxiety-like behaviors during withdrawal in animals with chronic alcohol exposure was associated with an increase in HDAC activity and decrease in histones acetylation and NPY levels.

Importantly, blocking the observed increase in HDAC activity using an HDAC inhibitor during alcohol withdrawal brought up histone acetylation and NPY expression levels in the amygdala and prevented the development of anxiety-like behaviors.

"Our findings suggest that HDAC inhibitors may have potential as therapeutic agents in treating alcoholism," Pandey said.

The researchers also found that levels of a protein known as CREB binding protein, which has HAT enzymatic activity, were increased by acute alcohol but were decreased during ethanol withdrawal.

They concluded that the enzymes that are involved in remodeling of chromatin play an important role in the anxiety that accompanies alcohol withdrawal as well as in the anti-anxiety effects of acute alcohol use.

"We need new strategies to treat alcoholism that are directed toward the prevention of withdrawal symptoms," Pandey said. "Anxiety associated with withdrawal from alcohol abuse is a key factor in the maintenance of alcohol addiction."

The research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Rajesh Ugale, Huaibo Zhang, Lei Tang and Anand Prakash of UIC and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center also contributed to the study.


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 DNA 'Remodeled' In Alcoholism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402084340.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2008, April 4). Brain DNA 'Remodeled' In Alcoholism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402084340.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Brain DNA 'Remodeled' In Alcoholism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402084340.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

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
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. 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