The tradition of drinking on New Year’s Eve is as old as time. Everyone around would drink an alcoholic drink or two, or perhaps more. With the alcohol would comes a buzz, people would allow themselves to feel. We all know our body experiences a “buzz” after consuming alcohol, but have ever questioned why?
Researchers from the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the US, conducted a study to find out what changes in our bodies and what cells are affected that produce the said buzz. According to the study, when the cocktail reaches our nerve cells, the alcohol employs intermediary molecules on the membrane surface of the neuron to produce the intoxicating effect
Scott Hansen, an associate professor of the institute said that the alcohol acted like an anesthetic and created a hyper buzzed feeling first and then sedation. But according to him, there is an intermediate step in the process, which wasn’t previously known.
The study found that the enzyme links ethanol molecules to lipid (fat) in the membrane of the nerve cell. The researchers found the enzyme becomes a catalyst triggering multiple downstream activities within the cell.
This leads to the creation of a fatty alcohol metabolite called phosphatidylethanol (PEtOH). That metabolite builds up and causes nerves to fire more easily, resulting in more hyperactive flies.
The scientists then knocked out the gene for the enzyme that makes the PEtOH metabolite, to see if the flies stopped becoming hyperactive. When the flies reacted to their experiment as they expected, they were able to identify a pathway for of alcohol sensitivity.
The research team said this was a breakthrough and this link would help them get an insight as to why people use alcohol for pain management.