Worms Hooked On Nicotine Offer Clues To Addiction
Emily Kagey, 11 Nov 17
       

(Credit: Getty Images)

A previously dismissed genetic mechanism may contribute to nicotine dependence and withdrawal, new research suggests.


“We, as a field, need to take another look at this mechanism in nicotine addiction.”


Scientists in the lab of Shawn Xu, a professor in the molecular and integrative physiology department at the University of Michigan Medical School, examined withdrawal responses in the millimeter-long roundworms Caenorhabditis elegans, which get hooked on nicotine just like humans.

The researchers identified specific genes and microRNA that play an essential role in how the roundworms develop nicotine dependence and withdrawal responses—clues that may carry over to the mammalian realm.

The study took a fresh look at a previously dismissed biological mechanism. Most research in the field has focused on how proteins called nicotine acetylcholine receptors contribute to dependence.

Xu and his colleagues focused on an earlier step in the genetic coding process and discovered that a series of genes were involved in a process that ultimately increased the production of the nicotine receptor proteins, with microRNAs—a class of small RNA molecules that help fine-tune gene expression—playing a pivotal role.

Sign in to view full article

       
Exploring the Complexities of Forgiveness
Friday, Jan. 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day – an annual day that honors the memories of the victims of ...
Yerachmiel Gorelik
Tue, 31 Jan 17
Far Beyond Crime-Ridden Depravity, Darknets Are Key Strongholds of Freedom of Expression Online
The internet is much more than just the publicly available, Google-able web services most online users frequent – and that’s ...
Roderick S. Graham
Wed, 1 Feb 17
‘It’s All About Me, Me, Me!’ Why Children Are Spending Less Time Doing Household Chores
In August, Treasurer Scott Morrison warned that “Australia has a generation growing up expecting government handouts”.
Shi Li
Thu, 12 Jan 17
610 Office, ‘China’s Gestapo’, Is Criticized by Party Investigators
Working with the Chinese police, agents of the “610 Office” would break into the homes of Falun Gong practitioners, ransack ...
Larry Ong
Mon, 2 Jan 17
‘Sip’ Info From Your Smartwatch, ‘Whoosh’ It To Your Phone
With their small screens and our bulky fingers, smartwatches aren’t the easiest devices to control. Researchers have invented new ways ...
Jason Maderer
Fri, 3 Feb 17
Advertise with Us
An Epoch Times Survey
Get your November/December 2017 issue at Kinokuniya stores today!
Read about Forced Organ Harvesting
Sports Elements
BUCHERER