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Study: Neurotransmitter Mutation Boosts Alcohol Consumption in Mice

By Sharon Kingman
Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A study in mice has pinpointed a genetic basis for increased alcohol consumption, which – if a similar mutation also occurs in humans – may one day lead to new treatments for alcohol addiction. In the animals studied, a mutation affecting the receptor for a neurotransmitter in the brain caused the mice to repeatedly press a lever to gain a drink containing alcohol, often to the extent that they became inebriated. By contrast, wild-type animals given a choice will prefer to drink water. The mutation affects a subunit of the receptor for the neurotransmitter GABA.

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