Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alcoholic fly larvae need fix for learning

Date:
November 29, 2012
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Fly larvae fed on alcohol-spiked food for a period of days grow dependent on those spirits for learning. The findings show how overuse of alcohol can produce lasting changes in the brain, even after alcohol abuse stops.

After six days living on alcohol-spiked food, fly larvae need their spirits to learn normally.
Credit: Robinson et al., Current Biology

Fly larvae fed on alcohol-spiked food for a period of days grow dependent on those spirits for learning. The findings, reported in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on November 29th, show how overuse of alcohol can produce lasting changes in the brain, even after alcohol abuse stops.

The report also provides evidence that the very human experience of alcoholism can be explored in part with studies conducted in fruit flies and other animals, the researchers say.

"Our evidence supports the long-ago proposed idea that functional ethanol tolerance is produced by adaptations that counter the effects of ethanol, and that these adaptations help the nervous system function more normally when ethanol is present," says Brooks Robinson of The University of Texas at Austin. "However, when ethanol is withheld, the adaptations persist to give the nervous system abnormal properties that manifest themselves as symptoms of withdrawal."

Robinson and his colleagues found that alcohol consumption, at a level equivalent to mild intoxication in humans, at first impeded learning by fly larvae. More specifically, those larvae had some trouble in associating an unpleasant heat pulse with an otherwise attractive odor in comparison to larvae that had not been drinking alcohol.

After a six-day drinking binge, however, those larvae adapted and could learn as well as normal larvae could. In fact, the alcohol-adapted animals learned poorly when their ethanol was taken away from them. And, when given alcohol back, their learning deficit was erased.

Robinson says that the findings are the first proof of cognitive ethanol dependence in an invertebrate, suggesting that some of ethanol's ability to change behavior must begin at the cellular level. After all, flies and humans share many of the same features at the level of individual neurons, and not so much in terms of the way those neurons are put together into working circuits.

The study also shows that the "responses to ethanol that addict and plague us" have a very long evolutionary history, Robinson says. And that means that genetic analysis in flies might yield some very important answers.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. BrooksG. Robinson, Sukant Khurana, Anna Kuperman, NigelS. Atkinson. Neural Adaptation Leads to Cognitive Ethanol Dependence. Current Biology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.10.038

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Alcoholic fly larvae need fix for learning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129130453.htm>.
Cell Press. (2012, November 29). Alcoholic fly larvae need fix for learning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129130453.htm
Cell Press. "Alcoholic fly larvae need fix for learning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129130453.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. 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