Discovered "switch" the pleasure of drinking

One of the key factors of dependence mechanisms in the brain is to get positive emotions. For example, alcohol, getting into the brain, affects the ventral tegmental area (ventral tegmental area, VTA), also called the pleasure center. After that dopamine is released, delivering a pleasant sensation. But if this road block - alcohol will cease to be perceived as "positive", becoming the only substance that is not addictive.


That is, as the publication of Neuropharmacology, and made the team of scientists led by Professor Mark Brodie at the Medical College of the University of Illinois. The studies revealed that the alcohol blocking the potassium channel called KCNK13, which is inside the membrane releasing neurotransmitter VTA neurons. When potassium channel blocked neurons enhance its activity and produce more dopamine.

"Channel KCNK13 needs to alcohol stimulated dopamine release by these neurons. Without it, alcohol can not do that. We assume that KCNK13 channel is a major target for drugs that have the potential to help people in the fight against alcohol addiction. This channel seems to be specific it is for alcohol. "

To confirm their hypothesis the researchers conducted two experiments. In the first laboratory animals at the genetic level to reduce the amount KCNK13 channels. As a result, these mice consumed 20-30% of alcohol more than their conventional counterparts. In the second experiment, the experts decided to find out how neurons KCNK13 channels sensitive to alcohol. It was found that mice who consumed alcohol regularly, the sensitivity is 50% higher than those who did not drink alcohol. This means that the "mouse-alcoholics" more likely to develop dependence because of the fact that they easily provoke dopamine production. The authors themselves work fairly positive about the future of their discovery.

"Currently, all available drugs reduce the effect of alcohol on the brain, which is akin to a decrease in sound volume. Our same drug will work as the power button \ off. "

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