Brain Receptor Can Alter Alcohol Response

BETHESDA, Md., May 18 (UPI) — A U.S. study suggests a genetic variant of a brain receptor determines whether the neurotransmitter dopamine is released following alcohol intake.

Researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism said dopamine is involved in transmitting the euphoria and other positive subjective effects produced by alcohol. Therefore, they said their findings help explain the diverse genetic susceptibility for alcohol use disorders.

“By advancing our understanding of the neurobiology that underlies the addictive properties of alcohol, this finding helps us understand why alcohol affects people in very different ways,” NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth Warren said. “This kind of information also aids the development of personalized medications for alcohol problems.”

The study that included Vijay Ramchandani and Dr. Markus Heilig appears in the early online edition of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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