Breaking News
August 18, 2018 - Microscopic insect odour detecting mechanisms discovered
August 18, 2018 - Researchers develop new approach to study how tuberculosis infects people
August 18, 2018 - FDA Approves Kalydeco (ivacaftor) for Cystic Fibrosis in Children Ages 12 to
August 18, 2018 - An ion channel differentiates newborn and mature neurons in the adult brain
August 18, 2018 - Socio-economic position associated with pregnant women’s exposure to environmental hazards
August 18, 2018 - Voters to settle dispute over ambulance employee break times
August 18, 2018 - AGA urges policymakers and stakeholders to improve affordability of drugs
August 18, 2018 - Increasing dietary protein may lower risk of diabetes in people with NAFLD
August 18, 2018 - New HIV therapy suppresses viral replication and increases immune cells in drug-resistant patients
August 18, 2018 - Broad Genetic Testing for NSCLC May Not Improve Survival
August 18, 2018 - Discovery opens door for synthetic opioids with less addictive qualities
August 18, 2018 - Transgenic rice plant extracts could help stop the spread of HIV
August 18, 2018 - Hologic’s Cynosure division partners with Porter Instrument to distribute nitrous oxide and oxygen system
August 18, 2018 - Two thyroid medications recalled by FDA
August 18, 2018 - Forecast Sees Abnormal Heat Worldwide Through 2022
August 18, 2018 - Childhood absence epilepsy – Genetics Home Reference
August 18, 2018 - Fearing hard Brexit, UK drugmakers stockpile to protect lives
August 18, 2018 - Discovery may help broaden the scope of defenses against HPV
August 18, 2018 - When they start thinking green, they see green
August 18, 2018 - Scientists introduce microfluidics-based chip for manipulation and analysis of single cells
August 18, 2018 - Researchers design new way to grow nose cells for treating spinal cord injuries
August 18, 2018 - New light shed on relationship between calorie-burning fat and muscle function
August 18, 2018 - Surgery Saturday Instagram series takes you inside Stanford’s OR
August 18, 2018 - Researchers uncover surprising new role for inhibition in the cerebellum
August 18, 2018 - Children have better nutrition when they live near forests, global study shows
August 18, 2018 - OHSU professor conducts clinical trial with artificial pancreas using Xeris’ liquid glucagon
August 18, 2018 - HSS takes young patients with physical challenges on a surfing trip
August 18, 2018 - Study shows electronic health records leave doctors and patients unsatisfied
August 18, 2018 - Study uncovers mechanism that affects multiplication of dengue virus lineage
August 18, 2018 - Theravance Biopharma Reports Positive Top-Line Four-Week Data from Phase 2 Trial of TD-9855 for the Treatment of Symptomatic Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension
August 18, 2018 - Animations prove effective in accurately measuring pain
August 18, 2018 - Three faculty members appointed to endowed positions | News Center
August 18, 2018 - New technique detects, measures, analyzes unevenly charged biomolecules
August 18, 2018 - Brief exposures to stressors can be beneficial to cells, shows study
August 18, 2018 - UTHealth-led survey shows much work remains to increase safety of e-health records
August 18, 2018 - Researchers use super-resolution microscope to unravel secrets of deadly Nipah virus
August 18, 2018 - Scientists identify pathways that reveal insights into mechanism of lung cancer etiology
August 18, 2018 - FDA approves marketing of brainsway deep transcranial magnetic stimulation system for OCD
August 17, 2018 - OUHSC gets $20 million grant to advance research and patient care for Oklahomans
August 17, 2018 - Sperm morphology differs depending on qualities of male bird
August 17, 2018 - Texas A&M researchers develop clay-based platform to grow blood vessels
August 17, 2018 - FDA Approves Expanded Indication for Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) in Children Ages 2-5 Years
August 17, 2018 - Caring for Concussions | NIH News in Health
August 17, 2018 - Team explores diabetes drug’s ability to treat RSV infection
August 17, 2018 - New imaging technique can spot tuberculosis infection in an hour | News Center
August 17, 2018 - PolyU researchers design new self-fitting scaffold to induce bone regeneration
August 17, 2018 - CartiHeal and LSU Health successfully enroll first two patients in Agili-C IDE pivotal study
August 17, 2018 - Less-invasive options are slowing disease progression in glaucoma patients
August 17, 2018 - Researchers discover new promising target point for cancer and diabetes therapies
August 17, 2018 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ See you in court!
August 17, 2018 - New mobile phone application enables early detection of cerebral ictus
August 17, 2018 - UK’s leading sight loss charity invites applications from brightest minds in ophthalmic research
August 17, 2018 - Alternative devices can help when autoinjectors are unavailable
August 17, 2018 - Researchers produce artificial placenta model that closely resembles natural organ
August 17, 2018 - Study offers possibility of squelching a focal epilepsy seizure before symptoms appear
August 17, 2018 - FDA Alert: Temporary Total Artificial Heart Companion 2 Driver System by SynCardia Systems: Letter to Health Care Providers
August 17, 2018 - New statewide program in North Dakota aims to stem opioid misuse
August 17, 2018 - Researchers discover why sepsis from a staph infection causes organ failure
August 17, 2018 - Stony Brook University’s new medical students start a transformative journey
August 17, 2018 - Revealed: The molecular mechanism underlying hypertrophic cardiomyopathy | News Center
August 17, 2018 - New modeling studies highlight urgent need for effective drug policy reforms to prevent HIV
August 17, 2018 - Research explores relationship between personal history of infectious fever and cancer risk
August 17, 2018 - Study finds rise in cases of progressive massive fibrosis among U.S. coal miners
August 17, 2018 - NEDBELS project examines impact of neurodiversity concept on legal systems
August 17, 2018 - Seeking solutions to treat scleroderma
August 17, 2018 - Statins may improve conditions of people with rare lung disease
August 17, 2018 - Study finds why some people with brain markers of Alzheimer’s never develop dementia
August 17, 2018 - Life Biosciences contributes $100,000 to fund its biomedical innovation course on aging
August 17, 2018 - Researchers develop a set of health outcome measures for children with complex medical situations
August 17, 2018 - Many Americans Not Being Assessed for Depression
August 17, 2018 - Scientists report setbacks in quest for AIDS cure
August 17, 2018 - Christopher Gardner busts myths about milk | News Center
August 17, 2018 - Bacterial activity in child’s mouth may serve as biomarkers for autism spectrum disorder
August 17, 2018 - Scripps Research scientists uncover new approach for treating thrombocytopenia
August 17, 2018 - Mathematical model shows the influence of human behavior on spread of infectious diseases
August 17, 2018 - Valley Hospital achieves Magnet recognition for fourth consecutive time
August 17, 2018 - Researchers describe link between poor oocyte development and oxidative stress in obese mice
August 17, 2018 - Hospitals battle for control over fast-growing heart-valve procedure
August 17, 2018 - AHA: Home-Delivered Meals Keep Heart Failure Patients Out of Hospital
August 17, 2018 - In Southern Mozambique, only half of people diagnosed with HIV enroll in medical care
Study finds neurotransmitter may play a role in alcohol relapse, addiction

Study finds neurotransmitter may play a role in alcohol relapse, addiction

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
IU professor Sharlene Newman and senior scientist Hu Cheng in the IU Bloomington Imaging Research Facility. Credit: Eric Rudd, Indiana University

A study led by Indiana University on neurochemical changes associated with alcohol addiction found that the neurotransmitter glutamate plays a role in some alcohol cravings.

Alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorders occur in about 30 percent of all Americans, taking a severe toll on people’s lives, as well as on the health care system and economy. Ninety percent of all attempts to cure the dependence or abuse of alcohol result in relapse within four years. These relapses are primarily triggered by sights, sounds and situations associated with past drinking experiences.

“This is the first study to document changes in glutamate levels during exposure to alcohol cues in people with alcohol use disorders and shines a spotlight on glutamate levels as an important target for new therapies to treat the condition,” said Sharlene Newman, a professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Alcohol and Alcoholism, builds upon research by scientists such as George Rebec, a professor emeritus in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences who previously found that sights and sounds associated with addictive substances such as cocaine or alcohol affect glutamate levels in the brains of rats addicted to these substances. These sights and sounds are called “cues” because they elicit a craving for the previously abused substance.

The study used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to show how images associated with alcohol use cause glutamate levels to change in a region of the brain known as the dorsal anterior cingulate, which plays an important role in addiction. Credit: Hu Chang, Indiana University

“Glutamate is the real workhorse of all transmitters in the brain,” Rebec said. “Dopamine is the more popularly known neurotransmitter, a lack of which contributes to depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Parkinson’s disease—but it actually accounts for less than 5 percent of all synaptic activity. By contrast, glutamate?accounts for about 50 percent of this activity and is especially involved in the reward-motivation circuits integral to addiction.”

To conduct the new study, researchers enlisted 35 subjects, 17 with alcohol use disorder and 18 without the disorder. Then they measured concentrations of glutamate using a technology called magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The study found a decrease of the chemical in the brain of people with alcohol abuse disorder after they were shown cues associated with drinking—such as a photo of alcohol in a glass—compared to when they viewed neutral photos. Individuals without the disorder showed no change in glutamate levels when viewing the same images.

“We recognized we could measure glutamate levels in the human brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy,” said Newman, who led the collaboration between her department’s addiction researchers to build upon Rebec’s previous work in animals. “Scientists can now confidently target glutamate levels in the brain as they develop new treatments for alcoholism and other forms of addiction.”


Explore further:
Scientists focus on brain protein and antibiotic to block cocaine craving

More information:
Hu Cheng et al, Effects of Alcohol Cues on MRS Glutamate Levels in the Anterior Cingulate, Alcohol and Alcoholism (2017). DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agx119

Journal reference:
Alcohol and Alcoholism

Provided by:
Indiana University

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles