Assembling the jigsaw puzzle of drug addiction

Jan 05, 2008

Using an integrative meta-analysis approach, researchers from the Center for Bioinformatics at Peking University in Beijing have assembled the most comprehensive gene atlas underlying drug addiction and identified five molecular pathways common to four different addictive drugs. This novel paper appears in PLoS Computational Biology on January 4, 2008.

Drug addiction is a serious worldwide problem with strong genetic and environmental influences. So far different technologies have revealed a variety of genes and biological processes underlying addiction. However, individual technology can be biased and render only an incomplete picture. Studying individual or a small number of genes is like looking at pieces of a jigsaw puzzle - only when you gather most of the pieces from different places and arrange them together in an orderly fashion do interesting patterns emerge.

The team, led by Liping Wei, surveyed scientific literature published in the past 30 years and collected 2,343 items of evidence linking genes and chromosome regions to addiction based on single-gene strategies, microarray, proteomics, or genetic studies. They made this gene atlas freely available in the first online molecular database for addiction, named KARG (karg.cbi.pku.edu.cn), with extensive annotations and friendly web interface.

Assembling the pieces of evidence together, the authors identified 18 molecular pathways that are statistically enriched in the addiction-related genes. They then identified five pathways that are common to addiction to four different substances. These common pathways may underlie shared rewarding and response mechanisms and may be targets for effective treatments for a wide range of addictive disorders.


Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Revolutionary handheld DNA diagnostic unit allows lab-quality analysis in the field

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cocaine-linked genes enhance behavioral effects of addiction

May 13, 2009

New research sheds light on how cocaine regulates gene expression in a crucial reward region of the brain to elicit long-lasting changes in behavior. The study, published by Cell Press in the May 14th issue of the journal ...

How plants make cocaine

Jun 06, 2012

Cocaine is one of the most commonly used (and abused) drugs, but we have almost no modern information on how plants produce this complex alkaloid. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology ...

New drugs target delay of Huntington's symptoms

May 31, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- McMaster researchers have discovered a new drug target that may be effective at preventing the onset of Huntington's disease, working much the same way heart medications slow the progression of heart disease ...

Recommended for you

NIH issues finalized policy on genomic data sharing

8 minutes ago

The National Institutes of Health has issued a final NIH Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) policy to promote data sharing as a way to speed the translation of data into knowledge, products and procedures that improve health while ...

The genes behind the guardians of the airways

5 hours ago

Dysfunctions in cilia, tiny hair-like structures that protrude from the surface of cells, are responsible for a number of human diseases. However the genes involved in making cilia have remained largely elusive. ...

Cancer leaves a common fingerprint on DNA

Aug 25, 2014

Regardless of their stage or type, cancers appear to share a telltale signature of widespread changes to the so-called epigenome, according to a team of researchers. In a study published online in Genome Me ...

User comments : 0