March 28, 2023

Drunken mice rise in moments with new drug

The injectable drug for intoxication increases alertness in the brain, making the person regain consciousness and balance more quickly

Carolina Fiorati

2 hours ago

New anti-intoxication drug sobered up mice instantly

Image: Gerrie van der Walt/Unsplash/Reproduction

Researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in the US have developed an injectable drug capable of quickly reducing the effects of intoxication or intoxication. The full study was published in the journal Cellular Metabolism.

The hormone FGF21, also known as fibroblast growth factor 21, is the main component of the drug. The substance produced by the liver appears to be associated with increased alertness in the brain. Basically, it fights the effects of drunkenness, such as drowsiness and lack of coordination, without changing the way alcohol is broken down in the body.

So far, scientists have only offered the injection to rodents. Some of the mice tested were bred in the lab not to naturally produce FGF21. As a result, they took longer to regain balance and correct their body orientation after drinking.

The opposite happened with those who were drunk but still produced FGF21 and also received a dose of the hormone. These regained coordination and consciousness twice as quickly as mice that did not receive the injection.

Function of FGF21 in the body

FGF21 activates a specific part of the brain called the locus coeruleus. This area produces norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that regulates alertness and awakening from sleep. The hormone also appears to increase the desire to drink water and reduce ethanol cravings.

Humans can consume alcohol directly from drinks, while animals such as mice consume sugary foods containing ethanol. This leads the researchers to believe that FGF21 may have evolved in the body to control the urge to drink too much alcohol at once and thus protect the person from liver damage.

In future studies, the team plans to investigate the neural pathways through which FGF21 exerts its moderating effect on the body. In addition, the team has not yet tested the intoxication drug in humans, although the scientists are confident that they will find processes similar to those seen in rodents.

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