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Oxytocin could help treat alcohol use disorder -- ScienceDaily

Administering oxytocin can decrease consumption, withdrawal symptoms, and drug-seeking behavior associated with several drugs of abuse, and shows promise as a pharmacological approach to treat drug addiction. But first, researchers need to understand how oxytocin mediates these effects in animal models. To address this question, Tunstall and colleagues tested the hypothesis that oxytocin administration could normalize the maladaptive brain changes that occur in alcohol dependence and thereby reduce alcohol drinking in an established rat model of alcohol dependence. The authors investigated oxytocin's effects on dependence-induced alcohol consumption and altered signaling of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) -- a key brain region in the network affected by alcohol dependence.

High-fat diet and age alter microflora and cause inflammation in heart failure: Experiments with mice show involvement of gut bacteria and spleen in this heart pathology -- ScienceDaily

They found that the obesity-generating diet caused a sharp increase in bacteria belonging to the genus Allobaculum, phylum Firmicutes. The obesity-generating diet also increased the proportion of neutrophils in the blood of young mice. In aged mice, a similar increase in the proportion of neutrophils was found for both old mice fed a standard diet and old mice fed the obesity-generating diet. The spleen, a secondary immune organ, is a known reservoir for leukocytes that are released after heart injury. Those splenic leukocytes move to the heart to begin tissue repair and help resolve inflammation. Halade and colleagues found that the obesity-generating diet and aging led to neutrophil swarming and an altered leukocyte profile after heart attack. They also observed splenic structural deformities in these mice and a decrease in splenic CD169-positive macrophages.

Dopamine Drives Early Addiction to Heroin - Neuroscience News

To prove that increased dopamine directly causes drug reinforcement, the team looked at the effects of silencing dopamine in mice with a well-established heroin addiction and were consistently self-administering the drug using a lever. They found that when they silenced the dopamine neurons, the mice were much less likely to self-administer heroin. Crucially, when they did this early in the addiction phase, the mice were less likely to develop the habit of self-administering heroin. This showed that activation of dopamine neurons in the nucleus accumbens is required for the early positive reinforcing effects of opioid drugs.