Male fruit flies who have been rejected by females drink significantly more alcohol than those that have mated freely, according to scientists. This suggests that alcohol stimulates the flies' brains as a 'reward' in a similar way to sexual conquest.
A chemical in the brain called neuropeptide F (NPF) plays a role in this link. Previous research has found a connection between alcohol and a similar chemical in humans (neuropeptide Y). In this new study it was found that heavy-drinking rejected males had a lowered level of the chemical, and mated males had an elevated level.
Lead researcher Shohat-Ophir said, "Experiences are translated into a molecular signature through levels of NPF. In turn, those NPF levels drive behavior - either drinking or not drinking - that will restore the reward system to normal levels."
The study is publlished online in the journal Science.