Drug Found To Reverse Brain Damage From Alcohol Abuse
Scientists at the Queensland University of Technology have discovered that a drug used to treat anxiety could help reverse brain damage from alcohol abuse by regenerating brain cells.
Research on mice revealed that two weeks of every day treatment with the drug tandospirone negated the effects of nearly four months of alcohol binging on neurogenesis, which is the brain’s ability to grow and regenerate neurons.
Tandospirone is an anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication used in China and Japan. It is a member of the azapirone drug classification and is closely related to other drugs such as buspirone and gepirone.
Tandospirone acts on a serotonin receptor, but this is the first time it has been found to reverse the brain regeneration deficits caused by heavy alcohol use. Researchers also revealed in the study that the drug could stop anxious behaviors linked to alcohol withdrawal symptoms as well as a notable reduction in alcohol intake.
From the study:
“Using paradigm to model chronic long-term binge-like voluntary alcohol consumption in mice, we show that the selective partial activation of 5-HT1A receptors by tandospirone…prevents alcohol withdrawal-induced anxiety in a battery of behavioral tests…which is accompanied by a robust decrease in binge-like ethanol intake…”
Study author neuroscientist Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation stated the following in a news release:
“We know that with heavy drinking you are inhibiting your ability to grow new neurons, brain cells. Alcohol is specifically very damaging for neurons.”
“This is a novel discovery that tandospirone can reverse the deficit in neurogenesis caused by alcohol.”
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
Arnauld Belmer, Omkar L. Patkar, Vanessa Lanoue, Selena E. Bartlett. 5-HT1A receptor-dependent modulation of emotional and neurogenic deficits elicited by prolonged consumption of alcohol. Scientific Reports, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-20504-z