The buzz on fruit flies: New role in the search for addiction treatments

Dec 03, 2009
A tiny electrode and pipette inserted into the fruit fly brain make it a simple, convenient model for studying drug abuse in humans. Credit: American Chemical Society

Fruit flies may seem like unlikely heroes in the battle against drug abuse, but new research suggests that these insects — already used to study dozens of human disease — could claim that role. Scientists are reporting that fruit flies can be used as a simpler and more convenient animal model for studying the effects of cocaine and other drugs of abuse on the brain. Their study appears online in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, a new monthly journal.

Andrew Ewing and colleagues note that laboratory mice, rats, and monkeys have been mainstays in research with the ultimate goal of finding effective medicines for treating addiction. Although these mammals have helped establish the behavioral effects of cocaine on the body, they provide relatively complicated models to study the effects of cocaine and other illicit drugs on the brain and nerves. In the hope for a new simpler they turned to fruit flies, which have many biological similarities to mammals, but are easier to study.

The scientists confirmed those hopes in research that involved giving cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and methylphenidate to fruit flies and then studying brain chemistry with a microelectrode one-twentieth the diameter of a human hair. The results demonstrate that are a valid model for studying in humans, the scientists say.

More information: "Using in Vivo Electrochemistry To Study the Physiological Effects of and Other Stimulants on the Drosophila melanogaster Dopamine Transporter", http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/cn900017w

Source: American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: Isolation of important centres in the brain results in age-related memory deficits

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cocaine cravings are studied

Jun 15, 2006

U.S. scientists say they have found the brain chemistry that underlies "cue-induced" craving in cocaine addicts.

Recommended for you

New research supporting stroke rehabilitation

19 hours ago

Using world-leading research methods, the team of Dr David Wright and Prof Paul Holmes, working with Dr Jacqueline Williams from the Victoria University in Melbourne, studied activity in an area of the brain ...

Team finds an off switch for pain

Nov 26, 2014

In research published in the medical journal Brain, Saint Louis University researcher Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D. and colleagues within SLU, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other academic institutions have d ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.