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Is Central Ghrelin Signalling Required for Reward Induced by Addictive Drugs and Behaviour?


The aim of this translational project is to gain insight into the neuronal mechanisms underlying the dependence producing properties of drugs of abuse, e.g. alcohol. Recently, ghrelin and its receptor (GHS-R1A) were implied as such candidates. Initially the roles of ghrelin in different aspects of alcohol and chemical addiction, e.g. reward, craving and relapse, will be studied. Epigenetics, e.g. DNA methylation, may explain the complexity of alcohol dependence. We have identified DNA methylation in brain and the effects of alcohol consumption on central DNA methylation and expression of the ghrelin and GHS-R1A genes are currently explored. The possibility of an interaction between drugs of abuse and the GHS-R1A will be studied in cell cultures expressing GHS-R1A. Polymorphisms of the pro-ghrelin and GHS-R1A genes will be studied in females with either type II alcoholism or binge-eating. With this knowledge novel treatment strategies for addictive behaviours might be developed.

Research Unit Composition:

Professor Jörgen Engel
Dr. Elisabet Jerlhag
Dr. Sara Landgren
Gun Andersson and Kenn Johannessen

Contact Information

Department of Pharmacology

POB 431, SE-405 30 Gothenburg

Visiting Address:
Medicinaregatan 13

+46 31 786 0000 (switchboard)

+46 31 786 3164

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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-08-13