On the cutting edge of brain gene analysis
- Alcohol targets the central nervous system to produce its effects.
- Researchers have for the first time used a new technique called gene array technology to analyze brain gene expression in human alcoholism.
- Chronic alcohol abuse can change the molecular programming and circuitry of the frontal cortex.
- Thousands of gene products may now be analyzed simultaneously to ascertain the effects of complex diseases such as alcoholism.
Alcohol's primary target is the central nervous system, where it influences neurotransmission to produce intoxication. Chronic alcohol abuse produces tolerance, dependence and neurotoxicity. Although changes in brain gene expression are believed responsible for these effects, research that appears in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
(ACER) is the first to use an exciting new technique called gene array technology to study gene expression in human alcoholism.
"A critical question in addiction," said R. Adron Harris, director of the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the study, "is how the reprogramming of the brain leads to long-lasting, severe, life-threatening dependence. This study provides insight regarding the molecular neurocircuitry of the frontal cortex that is altered in alcoholism. A key point here is that we study the superior frontal cortex. This is also called the 'executive cortex' because it is critical for judgement and decision making, tasks that are corrupted in addiction. Just as a computer virus can change the programming of specific functions, our data show that chronic alcohol abuse can change the molecular programming and circuitry of the frontal cortex."
All of our cells have exactly the same deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which means they all have the same genes. The reason that different cells cPage: 1 2 3 4 Related biology news :1
Contact: R. Adron Harris, Ph.D.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
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