Nav: Home

Drug makes rats less likely to imbibe alcohol

August 08, 2018

Alcohol use disorders can have devastating effects on a person's health, relationships and finances. Yet for some, the feeling they get when taking a drink temporarily outweighs these other concerns. Now, researchers have developed a new drug that could dampen alcohol's effects on the brain's "reward system," causing rats to self-administer the beverage less frequently. They report their results in ACS' Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Once consumed, alcohol enters the brain and interacts with neurotransmitters and their receptors, including some involved in reward-system pathways. When activated, these pathways can cause feelings of pleasure, relaxation and craving. Although alcohol-treatment drugs that interfere with the reward system exist, these drugs are not very effective and can have serious side effects. To develop a better treatment, Chunyang Jin and colleagues focused their efforts on a protein receptor called GPR88 that is found predominantly in reward-related areas of the brain. Previous research on mice genetically engineered to lack GPR88 showed that these animals seek and consume alcohol more than normal mice. This led the researchers to wonder if a drug that stimulates GPR88 could reduce alcohol cravings. They had previously developed a synthetic small molecule that activates GPR88 in vitro; however, this molecule could not effectively cross the blood-brain barrier.

The researchers tweaked the structure of the compound to make it more likely to enter the brain. They arrived at a molecule called RTI-13951-33 that was potent, selective for GPR88 and could cross the blood-brain barrier. When given RTI-13951-33, non-engineered rats drank less alcohol than before they received the drug. In contrast, the rats gave themselves sugar water at the same frequency with or without the drug. The researchers say they are now studying the molecule in both wild-type mice and those that lack the GPR88 receptor to prove that it is specific for that receptor.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Alcohol Articles:

Cuts in alcohol duty linked to 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England
Government cuts to alcohol taxes have had dramatic consequences for public health, including nearly 2000 more alcohol-related deaths in England since 2012, according to new research from the University of Sheffield's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).
Potential novel biomarker for alcohol dependence
Specific molecules (small noncoding microRNAs or miRNAs) found in saliva may be able to predict alcohol dependence as biomarkers.
Integrated stepped alcohol treatment for people in HIV care improves both HIV & alcohol outcomes
Increasing the intensity of treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) over time improves alcohol-related outcomes among people with HIV, according to new clinical research supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The Lancet:Targets to reduce harmful alcohol use are likely to be missed as global alcohol intake increases
Increasing rates of alcohol use suggest that the world is not on track to achieve targets against harmful alcohol use, according to a study of 189 countries' alcohol intake between 1990-2017 and estimated intake up to 2030, published in The Lancet.
Alcohol-induced brain damage continues after alcohol is stopped
Now, a joint work of the Institute of Neuroscience CSIC-UMH, in Alicante, and the Central Institute of Mental Health of Mannheim, in Germany, has detected, by means of magnetic resonance, how the damage in the brain continues during the first weeks of abstinence, although the consumption of alcohol ceases.
Does alcohol consumption have an effect on arthritis?
Several previous studies have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption is linked with less severe disease and better quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but a new Arthritis Care & Research study suggests that this might not be because drinking alcohol is beneficial.
How genes affect tobacco and alcohol use
A new study gives insight into the complexity of genetic and environmental factors that compel some of us to drink and smoke more than others.
Cutting societal alcohol use may prevent alcohol disorders developing -- Otago research reveals
Society must take collective responsibility to reduce the harm caused by alcohol use disorders, a University of Otago academic says.
The long-term effects of alcohol demand on retail alcohol markets
As new study by the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics examined the determinants of the number of licensed bars, restaurants, and liquor stores across neighborhoods in 53 California cities from 2000 to 2013.
Higher alcohol taxes are cost-effective in reducing alcohol harms
Increasing taxes on alcohol is one of the most cost-effective methods of reducing the harms caused by alcohol consumption, according to research in the new issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
More Alcohol News and Alcohol Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.