Addictive behavior and epigenetic DNA methylation

This 2018 McGill paper reviewed findings from animal and human studies on the relationships between drug-seeking behavior and epigenetic DNA methylation: “Although there is an increasing line of evidence from preclinical models of addiction, there are only a few human studies that systematically assessed DNA methylation in addiction. Most of the studies were done on … Continue reading Addictive behavior and epigenetic DNA methylation

An inhibitory gene that affects alcohol binge behavior

This 2015 La Jolla rodent study found that an inhibitory gene affected alcohol binging behavior: “Our study reveals the behavioral impact of this cellular effect, whereby the level of GIRK3 [the gene] expression in the VTA [ventral tegmental area] tunes ethanol intake under binge-type conditions: the more GIRK3, the less ethanol drinking.” GIRK3-silenced mice still … Continue reading An inhibitory gene that affects alcohol binge behavior

Flooding the hypothalamus with neurochemicals affects reward-seeking, motivated, and depressive behavior

This 2014 rodent study showed the opposing effects of neurochemicals orexin (excitator) and dynorphin (inhibitor) in the hypothalamus. The┬áhypothalamus plays a role in behaviors such as addiction and impulsiveness. Food and cocaine self-administration were the main techniques used. Flooding the hypothalamus with orexin produced reward-seeking and motivated behavior. That was greatly reduced when dynorphin levels … Continue reading Flooding the hypothalamus with neurochemicals affects reward-seeking, motivated, and depressive behavior