Study Examines Alcohol Gene

Research from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has led to the discovery of another gene suspected of being linked to alcohol dependency, the Medical Research News reported May 26.

Researchers investigated a gene that manufactures a protein called CREB, or cyclic AMP responsive element binding protein. The gene is known to regulate brain function during development and learning.

In animal tests, the researchers found that laboratory mice lacking a copy of the gene consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, preferring ethanol to water in a maze test. The mice also exhibited highly anxious behavior. Mice that had two copies of the CREB gene did not exhibit the same signs.

“This is the first direct evidence that a deficiency in the CREB gene is associated with anxiety and alcohol-drinking behaviors,” said Subhash Pandey, associate professor of psychiatry and director of neuroscience alcoholism research at the UIC College of Medicine.

The study’s findings are published in the May 26 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.