Alcohol altered spaces between cells in the brain

A glass in honor of... The consumption of beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages is for many people. In the evening they go with friends or colleagues to drink

Alcohol altered spaces between cells in the brain

A glass in honor of... The consumption of beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages is for many people. In the evening they go with friends or colleagues to drink or relax on the Sofa with a glass of wine. The Problem: Even moderate, but regular consumption of alcohol can lead to a habituation and insidious in Addiction to pass. "Alcohol has the ability to neurological trigger modifications that promote the formation of strong consumption habits and a dependence and lead, therefore, often alcoholism," explained Silvia De Santis of the Spanish University Miguel Hernández and her colleagues. The alcohol, however, solves a far less strong reaction of the reward system as other drugs. "As the alcohol develops, nevertheless, its potent addictive effect, is a barely-understood mystery", according to the researchers.

search for clues in the extracellular space

A possible cause of De Santis and her Team investigated in more detail: changes in the grey matter, which may be the concentration and spread of the Brain's neurotransmitter could influence dopamine. Dopamine plays a crucial role for the reward system and is responsible for the feeling of happiness and satisfaction felt by Addicts when breast-feeding their Addiction. From studies, we know that this Neurotransmitter is not only transmitted at the synapses between nerve cells, but also by diffusion processes into the intercellular spaces are distributed. "Increased Diffusion in the extracellular space, may appear to be very non-specific mechanisms of action for a drug. Thus, a variety of communication processes in the brain are affected," explains Co-author Wolfgang Sommer from the Central Institute of Mental health in Mannheim, Germany. The extracellular compartment consists of fluid-filled cavities and canaliculi that form between the brain cells and their many appendages.

Whether and how these spaces between cells due to sustained alcohol consumption can change, De Santis, summer, and their colleagues are now investigating the case of chronic alcoholic people, as well as in rats after einmonatigem regular alcohol consumption. Using diffusion Tensor imaging, a variation of magnetic resonance imaging, were recorded by you, how well water molecules are distributed in the extracellular space of the brains of animal and human subjects. In addition, they identified using a contrast agent, such as the structure of the cell spaces between the alcohol-dependent rats and healthy control animals difference.

, Greater Diffusion of dopamine spread

facilitates the studies showed significant differences: "Both in the alcohol animals, such as the alcohol sick patient to drink our results show a far-reaching increase the Diffusion in the grey matter", reports De Santis and her colleagues. "To our knowledge this is the first Time that diffusion were investigated changes in the brains of alcoholics and found." In Parallel, the structure of the extracellular space and its Form, influencing microglial cells changed: "After chronic alcohol exposure, these responding immune cells of the brain shrink and pull back her thick braid of projections," says De Santis' Mr Santiago Canals. "Due to the elimination of barriers to the Geometry of the extracellular space changes and new diffusion paths result." This means that dopamine can spread in the brain stronger.

According to the scientists, their results provide an explanation for why alcohol consumption can lead despite a weak acute effects on the reward system in Addiction: The alcohol changes to the structure and shape of the spaces between cells in the brain make it easier for the dopamine, expand, and strengthen their concentration and effect on different regions of the brain. "Over time, increased Neurotransmitter concentration, combined with a slowdown in the removal of synapses, might contribute to the weak rewarding properties of alcohol, the power of habituation effect, which some people in the Addiction," conclude the researchers. You should confirm this theory, then this could may also help to develop better preventive and counter - measures against the alcohol addiction.

source: Silvia De Santis (Universidad Miguel Hernández, Spain) et al., Science Advances, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba0154

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Date Of Update: 30 June 2020, 08:26

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