Impact of methamphetamine use depends on your genes

December 19, 2019

New research led by La Trobe University in Australia has uncovered genetic clues which could explain why some people have more severe side effects from long-term methamphetamine use than others.

The research, published in Molecular Psychiatry found that variations in the gene known as BDNF strongly determine the effects of methamphetamine in the brain. This could potentially explain why some users develop methamphetamine-induced psychosis, which is similar to schizophrenia.

La Trobe neuroscientist Professor Maarten van den Buuse said the research, conducted using animal models, may lead to ways of identifying individuals at particular risk of developing psychosis and could mean a fundamental change in the way the effects of drug-induced psychosis on the brain are treated.

"Drug-induced psychosis is generally treated with anti-psychotic medications, but these are not generally effective and are often associated with side effects," Professor van den Buuse said.

"If further research is able to provide more details on the role genetics plays in the effects of long-term methamphetamine use, we could begin looking at therapies that would make a real difference for people affected by it."

The research looked specifically into the impact of methamphetamine use in adolescence and early adulthood, which is often when long-term users begin taking the drug, Professor van den Buuse said.
-end-
The findings are the result of collaboration between academics at La Trobe's School of Psychology and Public Health, and the La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science.

La Trobe University

Related Brain Articles from Brightsurf:

Glioblastoma nanomedicine crosses into brain in mice, eradicates recurring brain cancer
A new synthetic protein nanoparticle capable of slipping past the nearly impermeable blood-brain barrier in mice could deliver cancer-killing drugs directly to malignant brain tumors, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage.

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions.

Human brain size gene triggers bigger brain in monkeys
Dresden and Japanese researchers show that a human-specific gene causes a larger neocortex in the common marmoset, a non-human primate.

Unique insight into development of the human brain: Model of the early embryonic brain
Stem cell researchers from the University of Copenhagen have designed a model of an early embryonic brain.

An optical brain-to-brain interface supports information exchange for locomotion control
Chinese researchers established an optical BtBI that supports rapid information transmission for precise locomotion control, thus providing a proof-of-principle demonstration of fast BtBI for real-time behavioral control.

Transplanting human nerve cells into a mouse brain reveals how they wire into brain circuits
A team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen and Vincent Bonin (VIB-KU Leuven, Université libre de Bruxelles and NERF) showed how human nerve cells can develop at their own pace, and form highly precise connections with the surrounding mouse brain cells.

Brain scans reveal how the human brain compensates when one hemisphere is removed
Researchers studying six adults who had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce epileptic seizures found that the remaining half of the brain formed unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks, which potentially help the body to function as if the brain were intact.

Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.

Read More: Brain News and Brain Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.