Toward Addiction

Science Signaling  20 Mar 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 216, pp. ec89
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003047

Addiction can result when substances, such as drugs or alcohol, co-opt the brain's natural reward system. Shohat-Ophir et al. (see the Perspective by Zars) explored this potential in Drosophila by examining the relationship between the natural reward stimulated by mating and the unnatural reward offered by ethanol consumption. Males deprived of mating increased consumption of ethanol, and, when permitted to mate after deprivation, their ethanol consumption decreased. At a mechanistic level, mating increased the neurotransmitter neuropeptide F (NPF), whereas mate deprivation decreased NPF levels.

G. Shohat-Ophir, K. R. Kaun, R. Azanchi, U. Heberlein, Sexual deprivation increases ethanol intake in Drosophila. Science 335, 1351–1355 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]

T. Zars, She said no, pass me a beer. Science 335, 1309–1310 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]