Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic changes behind sweet tooth

Date:
April 5, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
The substance ghrelin plays an important role in various addictions, such as alcoholism and binge-eating. It also impacts on sugar consumption, which is due, in part, to genetic factors, new research from Sweden reveals.

The substance ghrelin plays an important role in various addictions, such as alcoholism and binge-eating. It also impacts on sugar consumption, which is due, in part, to genetic factors, reveals new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Related Articles


Ghrelin is a neuropeptide that both activates the brain's reward system and increases appetite. This means that when we are hungry, levels of ghrelin increase, activating the brain's reward system, and this, in turn, increases our motivation to look for food. Previous research from the Sahlgrenska Academy has linked ghrelin to the development of various dependencies, such as drug addiction and alcoholism.

In a new study published in the online journal PLoS ONE, researchers examined the genes of 579 individuals chosen from the general public. It emerged that people with certain changes in the ghrelin gene consume more sugar than their peers who do not have these changes. This link was also seen in people who consumed large amounts of both sugar and alcohol.

Trials have also been carried out using rats, where the researchers found that when ghrelin was blocked the rats reduced their consumption of sugar and were less motivated to hunt for sugar.

"This shows that ghrelin is a strong driver when it comes to tracking down rewarding substances such as sugar or alcohol," says researcher Elisabet Jerlhag from the Sahlgrenska Academy's Department of Pharmacology.

These results go hand in hand with the researchers' previous findings which showed that substances that block the ghrelin system reduce the positive effects of addictive drugs and that changes in the ghrelin gene are associated with high alcohol consumption, weight gain in alcoholics and smoking.

The researchers are now a step closer to understanding what happens in the brain and the body in different types of addictive behavior. Understanding these mechanisms means that new drugs can be developed to block the ghrelin system and used to treat patients who are addicted to alcohol or who suffer from binge-eating disorders.

"This knowledge could also make it easier for society to view dependency as an illness and could mean that these people can get the treatment they need more readily," says Jerlhag.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sara Landgren, Jeffrey A. Simms, Dag S. Thelle, Elisabeth Strandhagen, Selena E. Bartlett, Jφrgen A. Engel, Elisabet Jerlhag. The Ghrelin Signalling System Is Involved in the Consumption of Sweets. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (3): e18170 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018170

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Genetic changes behind sweet tooth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404142809.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, April 5). Genetic changes behind sweet tooth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404142809.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Genetic changes behind sweet tooth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404142809.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. 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