Scientists have come out with the most comprehensive gene atlas underlying drug addiction. This research, carried out at the Centre for Bioinformatics at Peking University in Beijing, has come out five molecular pathways common to four different addictive drugs.
The study, led by Liping Wei, a researcher at the university, used an integrative meta-analysis approach to reach to the conclusions.
Drug addiction is a serious worldwide problem with strong genetic and environmental influences.
The study surveyed scientific literature published in the past 30 years and collected 2,343 items of evidence linking genes and chromosome regions to addiction based on single-gene strategies, microarray, proteomics, or genetic studies.
While assembling the pieces of evidence together, the researchers identified 18 molecular pathways that are statistically enriched in the addiction-related genes.
Then, the team identified five pathways that are common to addiction to four different substances.
These common pathways may underlie shared rewarding and response mechanisms and may be targets for effective treatments for a wide range of addictive disorders.
The scientists have made this gene atlas freely available in the first online molecular database for addiction, named KARG.
The study is published in PLoS Computational Biology.