Researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, provided insights into the genes that condition us toward drinking too much alcohol and the development of addiction. The study is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The research team studied rats under control and alcohol exposure conditions. The rodents were exposed to low concentrations of alcohol and directed to navigate a maze. Their behaviors and gene expression patterns were observed, as well as their brain tissue samples were analyzed.
The results revealed that a gene called hypoxia inducible factor 3 alpha subunit (Hif3a) is responsible for alcohol-induced behavior in the brain and the body.
Even low doses of alcohol can increase this Hif3a expression and increase the risk of drinking too much. Because even such limited alcohol use prims our brains for its abuse and addiction, the researchers caution against social drinking or “pandemic drinking”.
One of the lead researchers, Subash Pandey, elaborated: “Alcohol use disorder is complex and challenging to overcome. The information we learned from this study helps us to understand better what is happening in the brain and, one day, may be leveraged to [gauge appropriate drinking levels] and develop better treatments and pharmaceuticals.”
To Know More You May Refer To
Krishnan, H.R., Zhang, H., Chen, Y. et al. Unraveling the epigenomic and transcriptomic interplay during alcohol-induced anxiolysis. Mol Psychiatry (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-022-01732-2