Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Medicine, Health Care > Genetic Makeup And Duration of… >
Genetic Makeup And Duration of Abuse Reduce the Brain's Neurons in Drug Addiction

Published: March 7, 2011.
By Brookhaven National Laboratory
http://www.bnl.gov

UPTON, NY — A study conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory demonstrated that drug addicted individuals who have a certain genetic makeup have lower gray matter density – and therefore fewer neurons – in areas of the brain that are essential for decision-making, self-control, and learning and memory.

Nelly Alia-Klein, a study coauthor who is a Brookhaven Lab medical scientist, said, "This research shows that genes can influence the severity of addiction. The results suggest that addicted individuals with low MAOA [monoamine oxidase A] genotype may need a different kind of treatment than other addicted individuals who carry the high MAOA genotype. More studies need to be conducted before implementing changes in treatment strategies. However, addiction treatment professionals and others who manage addicted individuals, such as probation officers and judges, should be informed of these and other new findings in the neurobiology of drug addiction."

The research, conducted by scientists from Brookhaven Lab, Stony Brook University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is reported in the March 7, 2011 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

This and previous studies have shown that cocaine-addicted individuals, relative to non-addicted individuals, have lower gray matter density in frontal parts of the brain – which is important for paying attention and organizing one's own behavior – and in the hippocampus, a brain region important for learning and memory. The current study found that cocaine-addicted individuals with a low MAOA genotype had lower gray matter density in the brain's orbitofrontal cortex than addicted individuals with a high MAOA genotype or non-addicted individuals. MAOA is an enzyme that regulates neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which control mood and behavior.

In addition, the current study found that the pattern of low gray matter was correlated with the number of years of alcohol, cocaine and cigarette use in the addicted group. The longer cocaine, alcohol, and cigarettes were abused, the lower gray matter was found in the hippocampus and frontal regions of the brain. This result means that curtailing drug use may be protective against such brain changes.

The scientists recruited 82 men – 40 addicted to cocaine and 42 controls – for the study using advertisements in local newspapers and from local treatment centers. All the participants provided informed consent in accordance with the local institutional review board. They were given physical/neurological, psychiatric and neuropsychological examinations, including tests of intellectual functioning, and the researchers determined that all the men were healthy and not taking medication.

To determine the genotype of each participant, the scientists took DNA samples and analyzed them for the presence of high or low MAOA. The researchers also scanned the subjects' brains using magnetic resonance imaging, and a method called voxel-based morphometry enabled the researchers to determine the proportion/density of gray matter (as an estimation of neuron density) in the whole brain. The gray matter volume was then compared between the groups and correlated with genetic type and duration of drug use.

"Only males were part of this study and therefore it is important for future studies to examine these genetic and brain effects in females as well," Klein explained. "Also, further studies will have to be done to track these gene-brain-behavior patterns throughout a lifespan that influence the volume of the brain's neurons."


Show Reference »


Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ScienceNewsline.
Related »

Abuse 
11/13/13 
Studies Explore Potential Origins of Addiction And Treatments
By Society for Neuroscience
SAN DIEGO — Studies released today suggest promising new treatments for nicotine and heroin addiction, and further our understanding of pathological gambling and heroin abuse in those suffering chronic …
Drug 
11/13/13 
Studies Explore Potential Origins of Addiction And Treaments
By Society for Neuroscience
SAN DIEGO — Studies released today suggest promising new treatments for nicotine and heroin addiction, and further our understanding of pathological gambling and heroin abuse in those suffering chronic …
Behaviors 
8/15/11 
ASAM Releases New Definition of Addiction
By American Society of Addiction Medicine
CHEVY CHASE, MD, August 15, 2011 – The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released a new definition of addiction highlighting that addiction is a chronic brain disorder …
Smoking 
8/5/13 

Mindfulness Meditation IBMT Trims Craving for Tobacco
By University of Oregon
Brain 
2/24/14 
Opioid Abuse Initiates Specific Protein Interactions in Neurons in Brain's Reward System
By The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
(New York) – Identifying the specific pathways that promote opioid addiction, pain relief, and tolerance are crucial for developing more effective and less dangerous analgesics, as well as developing …
Reward 
7/6/10 
Study Links Romantic Rejection with Reward And Addiction Centers in the Brain
By Albert Einstein College of Medicine
July 6, 2010 – (BRONX, NY) – Researchers have linked rejection by a romantic partner to brain activity associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings, according to a study …
Substance 
4/17/13 

Increased Brain Activity Predicts Future Onset of Substance Use
By Oregon Research Institute
Amphetamine 
11/3/11 
Adolescent Amphetamine Use Linked to Permanent Changes in Brain Function And Behavior
By McGill University Health Centre
Amphetamine use in adolescence can cause neurobiological imbalances and increase risk-taking behaviour, and these effects can persist into adulthood, even when subjects are drug free. These are the conclusions …
More » 

Most Popular - Medicine »
MARIJUANA »
Casual Marijuana Use Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Students
CHICAGO --- Young adults who used marijuana only recreationally showed significant abnormalities in two key brain regions that are important in emotion and motivation, scientists report. The study was …
TUMORS »
The Immune System's Redesigned Role in Fighting Cancerous Tumors
LOS ANGELES (March 11, 2014) – Researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute eradicated solid tumors in laboratory mice using a novel combination of two targeted agents. …
INFLUENZA »
Ginseng Can Treat And Prevent Influenza And RSV, Researcher Finds
ATLANTA--Ginseng can help treat and prevent influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages, according to research findings by a scientist …
PROTEINS »
MSU Physicists Push New Parkinson's Treatment Toward Clinical Trials
MUTATIONS »
Applying Math to Biology: Software Identifies Disease-causing Mutations in Undiagnosed Illnesses
(SALT LAKE CITY)–A computational tool developed at the University of Utah (U of U) has successfully identified diseases with unknown gene mutations in three separate cases, U of U …
ScienceNewsline  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese
The selection and placement of stories are determined automatically by a computer program. All contents are copyright of their owners except U.S. Government works. U.S. Government works are assumed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Everything else copyright ScienceNewsline.