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Protein regulator shows promise against addiction
Science News ^ | July 7th, 2010 | Tina Hesman Saey

Posted on 07/09/2010 7:07:31 PM PDT by neverdem

Elevating a model in rats' brains blunted cocaine use

Little things can make a big difference in the brain. Case in point: A tiny snippet of RNA may help guard cocaine-using rats against addiction to the drug, a new study shows.

The minuscule molecular guard is a hairpin-shaped piece of RNA known as a microRNA. Raising levels of a microRNA called miR-212 in the brains of cocaine-using rats led the animals to take less of the drug than rats with normal microRNA levels, researchers report in the July 8 Nature. Similarly, blocking the microRNA’s action increased the rats’ cocaine use.

If the results hold true in people, researchers may be able to develop new therapies for treating addiction to cocaine and other drugs of abuse. “Once you get out of whack, this is something that might help bring you back,” says Yale neuroscientist Marina Picciotto, who was not involved in the study.

It’s unlikely that the research will lead to gene therapy to raise levels of microRNAs in people’s brains. But small-molecule drugs that mimic the microRNA’s action might be helpful.

Just 21 to 23 RNA units long, microRNAs are major regulatory molecules (SN: 3/1/08, p. 136) that govern part of the process by which instructions contained in DNA are transformed into proteins. The molecules generally block protein production. So it was a surprise to find levels of a protein called CREB increase with rising levels of miR-212, says Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla.

CREB has been found to help fight addiction (SN: 5/24/08, p. 14) by decreasing the rewarding experience of taking cocaine, sometimes to the point that...


The researchers are investigating how mir-212 is regulated and whether it is protective against addiction to other drugs, such as nicotine and alcohol.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Testing
KEYWORDS: cocaine; creb; genetics; microrna; mir212
Striatal microRNA controls cocaine intake through CREB signalling


1 posted on 07/09/2010 7:07:38 PM PDT by neverdem
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I’m wary of all medical golden bullets.

Clockwork Orange comes to mind.

2 posted on 07/09/2010 8:16:22 PM PDT by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
First Americans arrived as 2 separate migrations, according to new genetic evidence

Mitochondrial genome analysis revises view of the initial peopling of North America

Cleaning up organic pollutants

Revealing fake money

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

3 posted on 07/09/2010 8:23:30 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

4 posted on 07/11/2010 9:50:51 AM PDT by divine_moment_of_facts (Give me Liberty.. or I'll get up and get it for myself!)
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To: divine_moment_of_facts

Thanks for the link.

5 posted on 07/11/2010 8:59:47 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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