Scripps Research scientists are reporting that an experimental compound that has been tested in rodents could ultimately produce results in the treatment of the most serious cases of alcohol dependence.
The researchers have found that the compound, known as JNJ-63533054, activates a brain receptor that has been associated with behavioral health disorders. Their research is indicating that the compound's most pronounced effects appear to occur in rats exhibiting the highest levels of compulsive drinking behavior.
The receptor in question, a G-protein coupled receptor labeled GPR139, is located primarily in the habenula region of the brain. “We've been very interested in the habenula because this is the area of the brain that produces withdrawal symptoms, which an animal or human then tries to avoid by taking another drunk or another dose of a drug,” Scripps Research associate professor Olivier George said in a news release.
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