Research NewsNeurobiology

Enzyme Linked to Alcohol Sensitivity in Mice

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Science  24 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5338, pp. 573
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5338.573

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Mice lacking a functional gene for an enzyme called Fyn tyrosine kinase are providing new insights into how alcohol affects brain neurons, and hints of why some people are more susceptible to alcohol addiction than others. Researchers report on page 698 that animals without the kinase stay drunk longer than normal mice, apparently because the enzyme normally counteracts alcohol's depressive effects on neurons, causing acute tolerance. When it is missing, the neurons--and thus the animals--fail to recover.