alexa The effect of alcohol and nicotine abuse on gene expression in the brain.


Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis

Author(s): FlatscherBader T, Wilce PA

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Alcohol intake at levels posing an acute heath risk is common amongst teenagers. Alcohol abuse is the second most common mental disorder worldwide. The incidence of smoking is decreasing in the Western world but increasing in developing countries and is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Considering the longstanding history of alcohol and tobacco consumption in human societies, it might be surprising that the molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol and smoking dependence are still incompletely understood. Effective treatments against the risk of relapse are lacking. Drugs of abuse exert their effect manipulating the dopaminergic mesocorticolimbic system. In this brain region, alcohol has many potential targets including membranes and several ion channels, while other drugs, for example nicotine, act via specific receptors or binding proteins. Repeated consumption of drugs of abuse mediates adaptive changes within this region, resulting in addiction. The high incidence of alcohol and nicotine co-abuse complicates analysis of the molecular basis of the disease. Gene expression profiling is a useful approach to explore novel drug targets in the brain. Several groups have utilised this technology to reveal drug-sensitive pathways in the mesocorticolimbic system of animal models and in human subjects. These studies are the focus of the present review.

This article was published in Nutr Res Rev. and referenced in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis

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