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Chinese Researchers Develop Drug Addiction Database

By Bob Ewing     Jan 5, 2008 in World
Chinese researchers have developed the first molecular database for addiction-related genes with extensive annotations and a friendly Web interface.The researchers were able to integrate 2,343 items of evidence from peer-reviewed publications.
Two researchers working for the Center for Bioinformatics, National Laboratory of Protein Engineering and Plant Genetic Engineering, College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, People's Republic of China have developed the first molecular database for addiction-related genes with extensive annotations and a friendly Web interface.
The press release states that drug addiction is a serious worldwide problem with strong genetic and environmental influences. There are different technologies that have revealed a variety of genes and pathways underlying addiction; however, each individual technology can be biased and incomplete.
The researchers were able to integrate 2,343 items of evidence from peer-reviewed publications between 1976 and 2006 linking genes and chromosome regions to addiction by single-gene strategies, microrray, proteomics, or genetic studies.
They also identified 1,500 human addiction-related genes and developed KARG. Then they performed a meta-analysis of 396 genes that were supported by two or more independent items of evidence to identify 18 molecular pathways that were statistically significantly enriched, covering both upstream signaling events and downstream effects.
The team identified five molecular pathways that were significantly enriched for all four different types of addictive drugs as common pathways which may underlie shared rewarding and addictive actions, including two new ones, GnRH signaling pathway and gap junction.
Next they connected the common pathways into a hypothetical common molecular network for addiction. They then were able to observe that fast and slow positive feedback loops were interlinked through CAMKII, which may provide clues to explain some of the irreversible features of addiction.
More about China, Drug addiction, Database