The predilection of some people to alcoholism is mostly due to genetics: scientists were able to find one of the genes responsible for the development of the alcohol addiction.
“There is a number of not entirely effective drugs to help people stop drinking, because it is a terribly complicated genetic problem”, explains Jill Bettinger, one of the authors of the article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“If we are able to understand better how alcohol influences the molecular mechanisms, we will be able to create more effective drugs and even warn people, who are more likely to develop alcohol addiction”
Initially, the experiments were conducted on tiny round worms — there is a great similarity of some of their genes with human ones, so they often serve as laboratory rats. It turned out that the gene for SWI/SNF that participates in the regulation of sugar metabolism, is responsible for the reaction of the worms on the alcohol and intoxication.
Then the researchers found out that different variants of the same gene SWI/SNF might cause a different degree of alcohol addiction in different people. The authors emphasize that changes in one gene can hardly be fully responsible for such a complex process as alcohol addiction. However, there is no doubt that SWI/SNF is a part of a complex regulatory system of the body’s response to alcohol.
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University.