Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Sex-deprived fruit flies drink more alcohol: New study could uncover answers for human addictions
www.physorg.com ^ | 03-15-2012 | Provided by University of California, San Francisco

Posted on 03/15/2012 1:22:12 PM PDT by Red Badger

Sexually deprived male fruit flies exhibit a pattern of behavior that seems ripped from the pages of a sad-sack Raymond Carver story: when female fruit flies reject their sexual advances, the males are driven to excessive alcohol consumption, drinking far more than comparable, sexually satisfied male flies.

Now a group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has discovered that a tiny molecule in the fly's brain called neuropeptide F governs this behavior—as the levels of the molecule change in their brains, the flies' behavior changes as well.

The new work may help shed light on the brain mechanisms that make social interaction rewarding for animals and those that underlie human addiction. A similar human molecule, called neuropeptide Y, may likewise connect social triggers to behaviors like excessive drinking and drug abuse. Adjusting the levels of neuropeptide Y in people may alter their addictive behavior—which is exactly what the UCSF team observed in the fruit flies.

"If neuropeptide Y turns out to be the transducer between the state of the psyche and the drive to abuse alcohol and drugs, one could develop therapies to inhibit neuropeptide Y receptors," said Ulrike Heberlein, PhD, a Professor of Anatomy and Neurology at UCSF, who led the research.

Clinical trials are underway, she added, to test whether delivery of neuropeptide Y can alleviate anxiety and other mood disorders as well as obesity.

A Reward Switch in the Brain

The experiments, described this week in the journal Science, started with male fruit flies placed in a container with either virgin female flies or female flies that had already mated. While virgin females readily mate and are receptive toward courting males, once they have mated, females flies lose their interest in sex for a time because of the influence of a substance known as sex peptide, which males inject along with sperm at the culmination of the encounter. This causes them to reject the advances of the male flies.

The rejected males then gave up trying to mate altogether. Even when placed in the same cage as virgin flies, they were not as keen to have sex. Their drinking behavior also changed.

When placed by themselves in a new container and presented with two straws, one containing plain food and the other containing food supplemented with 15 percent alcohol, the sexually rejected flies binged on the alcohol, drinking far more than their sexually satisfied cousins whose advances were never spurned. The difference was not only apparent in their behavior. It was completely predicted by the levels of neuropeptide F in their brains.

"It's a switch that represents the level of reward in the brain and translates it into reward-seeking behavior," said Galit Shohat-Ophir, PhD, the first author of the new study.

A former postdoctoral researcher at UCSF, Shohat-Ophir is now a research specialist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Janelia Farm Research Center in Ashburn, VA. Later this year, Heberlein will also move to Janelia Farm, where she will become scientific program director.

Experiments Began as a "Crazy" Idea

When the work first started a few years ago, Shohat-Ophir said, it was just a crazy idea. The UCSF team suspected there might be a molecular mechanism in the brain linking social experiences like sexual rejection to psychological states such as depression of the brain system that responds to rewards. So they decided to test whether flies that were rejected sexually would be more prone to drinking.

Flies in the laboratory will normally drink to intoxication if given the choice, but this behavior is altered when neuropeptide F levels are altered in their brains because of their sexual experiences. Mated flies are less likely to seek out such rewarding experiences.

The male flies that were paired with receptive virgin females from the start and successfully mated had lots of neuropeptide F in their brains and drank very little alcohol.

Rejected flies, on the other hand, had lower levels of neuropeptide F in their brains, and sought alternative rewards by drinking to intoxication.

In their work, Heberlein, Shohat-Ophir, and their colleagues showed that they could induce the same behaviors by genetically manipulating the neuropeptide F levels in the flies' brains. Activating the production of neuropeptide F in the brains of virgin males flies made them act as if they were sexually satisfied, and they voluntarily curtailed their drinking.

Lowering the levels of the neuropeptide F receptor made flies that were completely sexually satisfied act as if they were rejected, inciting them to drink more.

The finding has great relevance to addressing human addiction, though it may take years to translate this discovery into any new therapies for addicts, given the much greater complexities of the human mind.

The human version of neuropeptide F, called neuropeptide Y, may work similarly, connecting socially rewarding experiences to behaviors like binge drinking. Already, scientists know that levels of neuropeptide Y are reduced in people who suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder—conditions that are also known to predispose people toward excessive alcohol and drug abuse.

Manipulating neuropeptide Y may not be so straightforward, however, since the molecule is distributed all over the human brain—and based on rodent studies, it has roles in feeding, anxiety and sleep, in addition to alcohol consumption.

More information: The article, "Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila" by Shohat-Ophir, K. R. Kaun, R. Azanchi and U. Heberlein appears in the March 16 issue of the journal Science: http://www.sciencemag.org


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: animals; fruitflies; insects; sex

Time flies like an arrow.

Fruit flies like a banana.......

1 posted on 03/15/2012 1:22:20 PM PDT by Red Badger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Well, that was a no-brainer. They’re self medicating. Poor bastards.


2 posted on 03/15/2012 1:25:56 PM PDT by Blado (Hey libs - write in Mick Jagger - he's the Real Authentic American Black!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Probably because female fruit flies have those damn headaches so often.


3 posted on 03/15/2012 1:30:10 PM PDT by GeorgiaDawg32 (God is dead - William Hamilton....William Hamilton is dead - God (And he means it))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

The male fruit flies have it completely backwards here.

The female fruit flies need to drink excessive alcohol.

Then, you make your advance!


4 posted on 03/15/2012 1:30:37 PM PDT by zeestephen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Hmmmmm, replacing a 12 step meeting with meeting the neighborhood working girl???


5 posted on 03/15/2012 1:30:52 PM PDT by varon (Congress is a sanctuary for political criminals)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All

I really don’t believe in addiction. I believe in lack of willpower, laziness and weakness.


6 posted on 03/15/2012 1:31:54 PM PDT by Fawn (Anyone but OBOZO!!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: varon

Yes, DHHS is working on getting health insurance to cover that as we speak


7 posted on 03/15/2012 1:32:51 PM PDT by Rusty0604
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I’m no fruit fly, but I’m certainly picking up what they are laying down.

Bottoms up fellows.


8 posted on 03/15/2012 1:33:55 PM PDT by Buckeye Battle Cry (Not Romney - Not ever!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

drosplilamelogastor


9 posted on 03/15/2012 1:34:17 PM PDT by brivette
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: varon

It would have to be subsidized,
because we all know that a “right” is being deprived
if you lack the means to exercise that “right”.


10 posted on 03/15/2012 1:34:32 PM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

You spend your life with everybody calling you a “fruit” and see if you don’t take to the bottle.


11 posted on 03/15/2012 1:35:07 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Well, since they only live a day or so, it’s not like they’re gonna worry about wearing out their livers.


12 posted on 03/15/2012 1:35:07 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (My doctor told me to curtail my Walpoling activities.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Guess there’s a case for single guys, porn and masturbation - you know to combat drug and alcohol abuse. /sarc

Seeing that sex releases oxycontin hormones in the brain, you’re really just trading an internal high for an external high.


13 posted on 03/15/2012 1:36:28 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Larry Lucido

"I only got 24 hours to live, and I ain't gonna waste it here!"

14 posted on 03/15/2012 1:37:09 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Fawn

The weakness is initially getting hoooked. Once hooked you are addicted. The brain chemistry actually changes. There’s plenty of science noting real physical changes in the body of people addicted. It’s not that they are not responsible for their own actions, sober or not. Just stating that physical changes are real and do happen in people who are hooked on many different kinds of substances.


15 posted on 03/15/2012 1:39:14 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Who knew they made beer goggles that small?


16 posted on 03/15/2012 1:41:10 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
I think this was part of Maslow's hierarchy of entertainment preferences for males of all species.

Top of the list...amore.

Next, beer.

Third, another beer...this time with chips.

17 posted on 03/15/2012 1:42:39 PM PDT by RoosterRedux (Romney: "I can haz cheezy grits, Y'all?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

those male flies need to put down the booze and go find a Fluke Fly


18 posted on 03/15/2012 1:43:11 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Fawn

“I really don’t believe in addiction”

Depends on whether you are talking booze, drugs or pretty girls.


19 posted on 03/15/2012 1:44:03 PM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Got to get your “buzz” from somewhere . . . .


20 posted on 03/15/2012 1:46:08 PM PDT by RatRipper (I'll ride a turtle to work every day before I buy anything from Government Motors.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

:: a tiny molecule in the [fruit] fly’s brain ::

When I read this, I’m thinking the about the totality of liberal thought and brain-power.


21 posted on 03/15/2012 1:49:24 PM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alterations - The acronym explains the science.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

This explains my college experience.


22 posted on 03/15/2012 1:50:13 PM PDT by relictele (We are officially OUT of other people's money!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

So if my wife wants me to stop drinking....


23 posted on 03/15/2012 1:54:42 PM PDT by CTyank
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog

ROFLMAO!!!!............EXCELLENT!..........I NOMINATE THAT FOR POST OF THE DAY!!!!......................


24 posted on 03/15/2012 2:00:36 PM PDT by Red Badger (If the Government can make you buy health insurance, they can make you buy a Volt................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Fawn
I really don’t believe in addiction. I believe in lack of willpower, laziness and weakness.

Everybody must believe in something.......I believe I'll have another drink...............

25 posted on 03/15/2012 2:01:44 PM PDT by Red Badger (If the Government can make you buy health insurance, they can make you buy a Volt................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: tet68

Do you know what moth balls smell like?...........


26 posted on 03/15/2012 2:02:49 PM PDT by Red Badger (If the Government can make you buy health insurance, they can make you buy a Volt................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Cletus.D.Yokel

I have to wonder if chimpanzees have more class.


27 posted on 03/15/2012 2:04:27 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Anyone surprised that a study like this came from the SF Bay Area? Those people are sex addled.


28 posted on 03/15/2012 2:04:33 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier who has survived 24 months of Combat deployment.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

I am sure glad my tax dollars which the government takes are giving grants to universities to study stupid theories like this. What a scam which is being repeated time after time in our institutes of higher learning.


29 posted on 03/15/2012 2:05:43 PM PDT by YukonGreen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SoldierDad

Well, they are fruits.........


30 posted on 03/15/2012 2:06:14 PM PDT by Red Badger (If the Government can make you buy health insurance, they can make you buy a Volt................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: YukonGreen

They think they find a link to drinking in the fruit fly and they are already braying about applying it to humans. But somehow, we need human aborted baby stem cells NOW to test thing they never talk about trying in animals. Does this smell bogus to you?


31 posted on 03/15/2012 2:09:25 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Secret Agent Man
"Just stating that physical changes are real and do happen in people who are hooked on many different kinds of substances."

I'm thinking that behaviors have the same effect on brain chemistry...

32 posted on 03/15/2012 2:11:48 PM PDT by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck

It all makes sense when you understand where they’re coming from.

Take God’s truth, turn it upside down, and you’ll have, 99% of the time, the leftist viewpoint on any issue.


33 posted on 03/15/2012 2:12:49 PM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: CTyank
"So if my wife wants me to stop drinking...."

Unfortunately, rehab is probably in your future. ;-)

34 posted on 03/15/2012 2:13:38 PM PDT by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Fawn

Sorry, but I’ve seen people “become” addicted to substances. It wasn’t due to a lack of will power. It wasn’t laziness. And it wasn’t weakness. My mother is addicted to pain medication. This occured from years of being on pain medications to address both the multiple back and neck surgeries she has had, as well as having Lupis. Her back and neck injuries were not caused by laziness, or weakness. Her Lupis was not the result of a lack of will power.


35 posted on 03/15/2012 2:14:14 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier who has survived 24 months of Combat deployment.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger
I'll confess,...

just about every bender I went on as a single guy was;

one: in search of poozay

and

two: the only thing left to do after striking out.


Hell ... 'learned THAT jit at the age of 17 !

36 posted on 03/15/2012 2:18:49 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dfwgator
"You spend your life with everybody calling you a “fruit” and see if you don’t take to the bottle."

Not to mention the constant threat of genocide from the 'giants'. It isn't at all unusual for a poor fruit fly to be out eating with his friends, and suddenly the giants send out canisters of toxic gas that kills hundreds, if not thousands of them at a time. As a fruit fly, you just know that any given meal could very well be your last.

37 posted on 03/15/2012 2:19:25 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: GourmetDan

Not the same. There’s no chemical reward/alteration going on with someone just doing the same chore every day. I don’t have to drive home from work every day at the exact same time, or have to go the same way, or at the same speed or faster, etc. Doing chores don’t make me obsess about doing the chore again. Or wanting to do it again. Washing dishes? Even something like eating a big dinner doesn’t make me want to sit around thinking about eating a big dinner again, or when’s the next time I can score a big dinner again. Or steal food from my neighbor because I don’t have any food left in the house.

I really have to disagree. Again this is not excusing them of their addiction or their responsibilities. If it were what you say then everyone’s addicted because any behavior we do normally could be classified as such, it’s such a massively broad definition. Behaviors you can stop or start, or change, and not have it bother you. Addicts cannot do that. Their body is chemically addicted to certain substances. That’s why they do things that appear insane and irrational to non drug-addict people.


38 posted on 03/15/2012 2:23:40 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: knarf
"Hell ... 'learned THAT jit at the age of 17 !"

I don't know... does that make you smarter than a fruit-fly? ;-)

39 posted on 03/15/2012 2:25:21 PM PDT by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Fawn

I fired an employee Tuesday after I walked around a corner and caught him taking a hit off a tiny little pipe while standing at his machine, I was quiet and he didn’t hear me coming. I couldn’t believe how STUPID he was to sit there smoking Spice at 11:20 in the morning on my shop floor, I have to say I damn near lost it.

Addiction must be hard for someone who has never gone through it to understand I guess, he threw away a perfectly good job he was happy with because he had to have his “fix”. (I say that calmly now after I had time to think about it. I peeled the paint off the walls while escorting him out of my shop at the time though.)


40 posted on 03/15/2012 2:26:31 PM PDT by Abathar (Proudly posting without reading the article carefully since 2004)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Secret Agent Man
"Not the same. There’s no chemical reward/alteration going on with someone just doing the same chore every day."

Not what I was talking about...

41 posted on 03/15/2012 2:30:14 PM PDT by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

That won’t work with Humans. These days when a female rejects a males advances they want to punk their buddies in the rear.


42 posted on 03/15/2012 2:37:54 PM PDT by Venturer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SoldierDad

“My mother is addicted to pain medication. This occured from years of being on pain medications to address both the multiple back and neck surgeries she has had, as well as having Lupis. Her back and neck injuries were not caused by laziness, or weakness. Her Lupis was not the result of a lack of will power.”

Of course not. Pompous know-it-alls are always eager to point the finger.


43 posted on 03/15/2012 2:48:22 PM PDT by Magic Fingers (Political correctness mutates in order to remain virulent.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

Another superfluous research project funded by taxpayers.


44 posted on 03/15/2012 2:49:51 PM PDT by lurk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Fawn
"I really don’t believe in addiction. I believe in lack of willpower, laziness and weakness."

As a recovering alcoholic, I would point out the flaw in your thinking. Although I can't speak to other forms of drug addiction, alcoholics are not weak willed; in fact we're particularly strong willed. The problem is that the inclinations of our will is to get drunk. In fact we are so "willing" to drink that we find ourselves jeopardizing jobs, health, relationships, etc. in order to drink.

If you lock an alcoholic in prison or strand him on a desert island it's only a matter of time before he'll find something to ferment, and some alcoholics are so driven to drink that they'll rob or poison themselves to do so.

Sobriety comes only when one becomes willing to surrender the natural inclination of their own will to God.

45 posted on 03/15/2012 2:55:49 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: CTyank

We have a winner!

When I showed this to mrs p6 she laughed hysterically and brought me a beer.

We’ve been married almost 35 years...makes no difference....sigh.


46 posted on 03/15/2012 3:06:50 PM PDT by prisoner6 (Right Wing Nuts bolt the Constitution together as the loose screws of th e Left fall out!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: GourmetDan
I don't think so ... IIRC, fruit flys have a few days life span ... I took 17 years to begin .

I think the fruit fly puts it together more quickly

47 posted on 03/15/2012 3:32:16 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: brivette
"drosplilamelogastor"

Is that how intoxicated fruit flies spell it?

48 posted on 03/15/2012 4:28:11 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: GourmetDan

Well thanks for explaining clearly what you were talking about.


49 posted on 03/15/2012 5:54:38 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Red Badger

buzzmark


50 posted on 03/15/2012 6:42:21 PM PDT by StAnDeliver (=)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson