Table of contents:
Video: Neurons Found To Cause Depression In Alcohol Withdrawal
Neurons found to cause depression in alcohol withdrawal
In an experiment on mice, a group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania) found out why it is so difficult for people with severe alcohol dependence to quit a bad habit.
Photo: CC0 Public Domain
As part of the study, scientists monitored the work of the brain of laboratory mice, half of which were given water to drink for six weeks, and the other half - a ten percent solution of alcohol. As soon as the "drinking" rodents developed alcohol dependence, they began to drink only water, observing how their brain and behavior changed. In particular, the researchers examined changes in the activity of little-studied somastatin neurons, which are believed to be associated with the development of stress and mental disorders.
Scientists found that avoiding alcohol led to severe emotional disturbances similar to some of the symptoms of depression in humans, including lack of interest in reward and heightened responses to stressful situations. It was also found that the activity of somatostatin mice in alcoholic mice is significantly lower than in teetotal mice. At the same time, the consequences of alcohol withdrawal were more pronounced in females. This explains why females drank significantly more alcohol during the first phase of the experiment and tolerated refusal significantly less than males.
“If you act on these neurons with the help of special drugs, it can help alcoholics get rid of depression with withdrawal symptoms. It will be much easier for them to quit drinking if they can get rid of negative emotions in both the short and long term,”writes Nicole Crowley, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the authors of the study.
Since the study was conducted only in mice, scientists have to test whether these results can be reproduced in humans. In particular, Crowley and her colleagues intend to find out what changes occur with the rejection of alcohol at the molecular and synaptic level and whether it is possible to activate neurons, or vice versa, to reduce their activity.