Excessive alcohol consumption triggered by gene mutation
Posted by Neill Abayon
In a study involving mice, researchers have found a gene that regulates alcohol consumption. When this gene is faulty, the mice are prompted to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, suggesting a potential genetic component at play in human alcohol consumption.
The research was undertaken by researchers from five universities in the UK and was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Wellcome Trust and the European Foundation for Alcohol Research (ERAB).
Results of the findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.
Researchers observed that normal mice showed no interest in alcohol presented to them, choosing a bottle of water over a bottle of diluted alcohol.
But when mice with a mutated Gabrb1 gene were offered alcohol, they consistently opted for alcohol over water, consuming nearly 85% of their daily fluid intake as alcohol.
"It's amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviors like alcohol consumption," says Dr. Quentin Anstee, consultant hepatologist at Newcastle University and joint lead author.