Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week 9

This week, I wasn't blown away by either of Holly et al.'s or Vassoler et al.'s papers. Additionally, while the two were focused on the effects of cocaine, they varied greatly in their approach and the effect studied.

Personally, I preferred the Epigenetic inheritance of a cocaine-resistance phenotype. I thought this paper was especially interesting because I haven't ever heard of the paternal effects of cocaine use on its offspring. Additionally, it was surprising to me that after just 60 days (length of rat spermatogenesis) there could be such a profound epigenetic effect. I also found it really interesting how the presence of BDNF could dampen the offspring's affinity towards cocaine, which was also noticeable with ANA-12 injections. Also, because sperm often bring much less to fertilization, I was surprised that there were such noticeable effects. Some questions I had on this paper included the fact that there was a significant amount of cocaine in the sperm. So could this level of cocaine have affected the fertilization process? Also, in analysis of the sperm and testes, there were only three rats used for each experimental group, a number I personally believe is a bit low for their neurochemistry conclusions. Finally, the paper claims that their data shows "resistance to cocaine reinforcement". However, in my opinion, I don't believe that their data, especially Figure 2, especially proves that there was a complete resistance to cocaine reinforcement. Because the cocaine sired offspring still use a high number of cocaine infusions per day, I don't think it's enough to say that the their is resistance, rather than a small effect. Overall though, I think further studies into this mechanism and the involvement of BDNF could prove very useful for helping with addiction.

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