May 19, 2024

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New discoveries about the gut microbiome could lead to new addiction treatment

New discoveries about the gut microbiome could lead to new addiction treatment



 

New discoveries about the gut microbiome could lead to new addiction treatment.

A new study is the first to demonstrate a link between the gut microbiome and cocaine use and post-abstinence cravings.

These findings open the door to potential drug addiction treatment and relapse prevention. The gut microbiome, the ecosystem of trillions of microbes that live in our guts, has been linked to good physical and mental health.

Now, a new study has found a link between the gut microbiome and the reward-seeking parts of the brain that drive illicit drug use.

 

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine used existing scientific knowledge of the gut microbiome’s ability to regulate brain function and its role in neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and autism as the basis for their study.

They took a different approach, investigating whether and how the microbiome affects cocaine use and withdrawal cravings.

 

Drew Kiraly, corresponding author of the study, said: “For patients with a history of cocaine use disorder, the risk of relapse is substantial, and there are currently no effective pharmacological treatments to reduce this risk. Therefore, our study examines how the gut microbiome affects drug seeking over time.”

 

First, the researchers injected rats with antibiotics to deplete the “good” bacteria in the animals’ microbiomes. The rats were then trained to self-administer cocaine.

Next, the researchers examined whether the reduction in beneficial gut bacteria affected cocaine-seeking behavior in detoxified mice.

Finally, the researchers injected rats with short-chain fatty acids (SFCAs) to reverse the effects of antibiotic treatment to see what effect it had on the rats’ cocaine-seeking behavior.

Short-chain fatty acids are produced by beneficial gut bacteria and are important for brain health.

 

New discoveries about the gut microbiome could lead to new addiction treatment

 

The researchers found that microbiota-depleted rats smoked more cocaine and searched harder for the drug after a period of abstinence compared with controls, suggesting, they say, that the gut microbiome influences the rewarding effects of cocaine .

 

In addition to the behavioral changes, the researchers found that microbiota depletion significantly altered neurobiological markers in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain’s reward and pleasure system. Importantly, they found that the behavioral and biological effects of microbiota depletion could be reversed by administering SCFAs.

 

The researchers say their findings lay the groundwork for future studies of how specific microbial compositions drive drug-seeking and other motivation-related behaviors: “Taken together, these findings demonstrate the role of the microbiome and its metabolites in drug uptake and seeking, Lays the groundwork for future translational work in this area. Ultimately, these microbial signaling pathways have the potential to be explored as biomarkers or treatments for patients with substance use disorders.”

 

The study was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

 

 

 

 

 

New discoveries about the gut microbiome could lead to new addiction treatment

(source:internet, reference only)


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