Why do hamsters stay on the wagon?
Vallee and Keung also showed that daidzin inhibits an enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde, a natural metabolite of ingested alcohol. As a result, many researchers thought the chemical worked like disulfiram (sold as Antabuse), one of only two drugs approved in the United States to treat alcohol abuse. Disulfiram inhibits the same enzyme as daidzin: When someone taking disulfiram drinks alcohol, he or she becomes nauseous as acetaldehyde builds up in the body.
But Vallee, Keung, and two other colleagues at Harvard now observe that daidzin must work by a different pathway than disulfiram. At doses that curb alcohol drinking by hamsters, daidzin does not affect the metabolism of acetaldehyde, they report in the Sept. 12 PNAS. "It has been assumed, without further proof, that this would be the mechanism of the drug. But you don't get any accumulation [of acetaldehyde]," says Vallee.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Biology; daidzin and disulfiram appear to work by different pathways to treat alcohol abuse|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Sep 23, 1995|
|Previous Article:||DNA interruptions made a late entrance.|
|Next Article:||Weaving the cosmic web; bottom up or top down: now the twain shall meet.|