In recent years, a class of small molecules known as microRNAs have been found to play an important role in regulating gene products in most animal and plant species. A new study now indicates that microRNA may influence the development of alcohol tolerance, a hallmark of alcohol abuse and dependence. Researchers supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, report the findings in the journal Neuron.
“This is an important contribution to efforts aimed at identifying the molecular bases of alcohol tolerance,” notes NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D.
Tolerance is the decrease in sensitivity to alcohol that develops with both single and repeated exposures to alcohol over time. Individuals who develop high tolerance (low sensitivity) to alcohol are at increased risk for becoming alcohol dependent. Thus, an important research objective has been to identify the adaptations within individual molecules that underlie tolerance.
Release date: July 30, 2008
Source: National Institues of Health
Filed Under: Genomics/Proteomics