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The team tested several behavioral models, including a model in which mice escalate alcohol drinking after repeated withdrawal periods, to study the effects of partially deleting Nf1. In this experiment, which simulated the transition to excessive drinking that is associated with alcohol dependence in humans, they found that mice with functional Nf1 genes steadily increased their ethanol intake starting after just one episode of withdrawal. Conversely, mice with a partially deleted Nf1 gene showed no increase in alcohol consumption.
Looks like the authors of this paper may be looking at epigenetic roles next?
The team sees the new findings as “pieces to the puzzle.” Sanna believes future research should focus on exactly how Nf1 regulates the GABA system and how gene expression may be altered during early development.