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Gene controlling circadian rhythms linked to drug addiction

a pattern called bursting, which leads to an usually large dopamine release," Dr. McClung said. "We also found that more dopamine is produced and released in these mice under normal conditions and particularly after exposure to cocaine."

Dr. Eric Nestler, chairman of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and the study's senior author, said the results suggest there may be a link in disruption of circadian rhythms and the tendency to abuse drugs.

"Most work on Clock has focused on the brain's master pacemaker, located in a brain area called the suprachiasmatic nucleus," said Dr. Nestler. "The novelty of Dr. McClung's findings is the role Clock plays in brain reward pathways. The next step is to examine Clock and related genes in human addicts."

Dr. Donald Cooper, assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, also contributed to the study, as did researchers from the University of Crete in Heraklion; the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago; and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Northwestern University.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.


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Source:UTSouthwestern


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