New Scientist ‘Hangover gene’ is key to alcohol tolerance - Breaking News:
"A stress response was triggered in a new batch of fruit flies with working hangover genes by heating them to 37C for 30 minutes. Four hours later, the flies were exposed to alcohol and despite this being their first alcoholic experience, they showed a high tolerance – taking an average of 29.5 minutes to sober up.
But the same increased alcohol tolerance was not seen when flies with the defective gene were exposed to alcohol. “There is growing recognition that stress, at both cellular and systemic levels, contributes to drug- and addiction-related behaviours in mammals. Our studies suggest that this role may be conserved across evolution,” Heberlein and Scholz suggest.
The findings help to define the role that stress has in addiction, says Leslie Morrow, at the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina, US. “Prior stress can induce tolerance to alcohol even if a person has never had a drink before. And that increased tolerance means that a person can drink more and more before becoming inebriated, making it more likely that they will end up with an addiction problem.”
There may be people in the population who have an over-expression of the human equivalent of the hangover gene and who may especially at risk from developing addiction problems, Morrow adds."