MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Aurelio Galli, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Science
Associate Director for Research Strategy
Vanderbilt Brain Institute
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The study builds on evidence that bile acids influence the brain’s reward system. Bile acids are normally released from the gall bladder into the upper part of the small intestine, where they emulsify fats for absorption, before being recycled further down the small intestine. In bile diversion surgery, an experimental treatment for weight loss, bile is released at the end of the small intestine, increasing the amount of bile acids that enter the general circulation.
Mice treated with this surgery have less appetite for high-fat foods, which suggests that bile acids affect brain reward pathways.
We demonstrated that mice receiving the surgery also showed less preference for the cocaine-associated chamber, indicating that cocaine was probably less rewarding.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We reveal that a new gut-based bariatric surgical approach chronically elevates systemic bile acids and reduces cocaine reward. These findings redefine the physiological significance of bile acid signaling and highlight the importance of determining whether bile acid analogues represent a viable pharmacological treatment for cocaine abuse.
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