Science Daily: Researchers announce that the presence of the Bmal1 gene in the striatum affects alcohol consumption in both male and female mice in a sexually dimorphic manner.
The researchers announce that the presence of the Bmal1 gene in the striatum affects alcohol consumption in both male and female mice — but in a sexually dimorphic manner. Male mice without the protein consumed more alcohol than those that had it, while female mice without the protein consumed less than females with it.
Bmal1 is also an integral element in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the master circadian clock found in all mammals that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Previous association analyses of clock genes revealed a potential role for Bmal1 in alcohol-drinking behaviour. Expanding on this — and given evidence of sex differences in alcohol consumption and in some functions of clock genes — the researchers hypothesized that Bmal1 may affect alcohol intake in a sex-dependent manner.
The study was led by Nuria de Zavalia, a research associate and lab manager at the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology and supervised by Shimon Amir, a professor of psychology and Distinguished University Research Professor. The co-authors are research associate Konrad Schoettner, undergraduate student Jory Goldsmith, research assistant Pavel Solis, alumna Sarah Ferraro (PhD 21) and research assistant Gabrielle Parent.