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Grapevine : January 2011
Mouse gene may shed light on alcoholism A novel mutation found in a mouse gene might provide new insights into the genetic roots of alcoholism in humans, according to a study led by researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center and the University of California, San Francisco. e mutation is associ- ated with altered sensitiv- ity to a variety of anes- thetics, including alcohol. e mutant mice are more sensitive to alcohol than their normal, wild- type litter- mates, and voluntarily consume more alcohol than normal mice when o ered the choice between alcohol and water. Studies of human twins have suggested that there is a genetic component to alcoholism, but, accord- ing to the study, it is likely that there are multiple genes that contribute to the disease, each with its own e ect, making it di - cult to identify the causative factors. e ques- tion now, research- ers said, is whether the mutated mouse gene turns out to be associated with altered responses to alcohol in humans. " ere's a chance that it's part of a new and relatively unexplored biochemical pathway that may tell us something about human susceptibil- ity to alcoholism." Source: PLoS Genetics; August 2010 ability to engage with treatment. Cortisol plays an important role in the regulation of emotion, learning, attention, energy utilization and the im- mune system. e research showed that high levels of this hormone continue to be elevated during withdrawal from alco- hol and a er long periods of abstinence. Researchers said that both drinking and withdrawal from alcohol can a ect cortisol function in humans. Cortisol dysfunction "may contribute to the high rates of relapse reported in alcohol dependence, even a er many months of abstinence." Source: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research; October 2010 e purpose of these pages is to o er information that may further readers' understand- ing of the medical, legal and social aspects of alcoholism; the severity and international scope of the illness; and the worldwide e orts being made to combat it. Publication here does not imply endorsement or a liation. AA does not conduct or participate in research, nor does it hold any opinion on research conducted by others. Grapevine 63 The mutant mice are more sensitive to alcohol