1980s suggested that chlorogenic acids may have an effect on
the opiate system in the brain," Martin said. "They may have antidepressant
effects, which would make some sense because we know that drinking coffee gives
people a sense of well-being. It's possible that these or other components of
coffee may have an effect on reducing alcohol dependency."
To begin the work, the researchers will examine the chemical characteristics of
coffee, evaluate their effects on the body's neurotransmitter systems,
synthesize the agents that are not yet available for study and study these
agents in cell cultures and animal addiction models.
"We would like to see whether chlorogenic acids or other components can have an
effect on animals' alcohol self-administration," Martin said. "The idea is that,
perhaps, drinking coffee can have a beneficial effect on people who are
depressed and who are addicted to alcohol. That's what we'd like to determine."
The work will take research into coffee beyond the study of caffeine, its most
well-known chemical component.
"Some of the chlorogenic acids are present at quite high concentrations in
coffee, so you have to wonder what they do. We think it's important to find
out," said David M. Lovinger, professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
and Pharmacology. Lovinger serves as associate director of Basic Research for
the Addiction Center and the Institute for Coffee Studies.
The group representing Brazilian coffee growers became interested in Vanderbilt
because of the reputation of its department of Pharmacology, Martin said. The
group visited Vanderbilt last year and met with researchers in Pharmacology and
the Addiction Center.
"The visiting group included a scientist, Professor Darcy Roberto Lima of the
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who has been cataloging plants in the
Brazilian rain forest," Martin said. "We discussed potentially expanding the
project to include looking at the potential pharmacological effectPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Matt Scanlan
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
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