Portland Alcohol Research Center

Portland Alcohol Research Center

Alcohol has different effects on different people, and alcohol dependence can be devastating to one’s health, career and family. Researchers at the Portland Alcohol Research Center are studying the genes that influence behavior around alcohol to learn what makes some people more vulnerable to alcohol dependence. Understanding more about that will enable the development of new treatments for dependent drinking.

PARC is a joint project of OHSU and the Portland VA Medical Center, and one of 18 alcohol research centers funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health. Led by Director John Crabbe, Ph.D., scientists at PARC use genetic mapping techniques in mice to study how the brain adapts to alcohol, and have found that chronic alcohol intake in mice leads to substantial changes in the brain.

To date, researchers at PARC have identified one gene, called Mpdz, that influences mouse alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is important because the negative symptoms of withdrawal, which include anxiety and depression, are strongly associated with relapse to drinking. Collaborative studies are under-way to see whether the Mpdz gene plays a role in human alcohol dependence, and PARC studies continue to discover other genes important for drinking, withdrawal and other alcohol-related traits. 

Your gift to PARC can help keep its gene identification equipment at the leading edge of science, retain and recruit the world’s finest faculty of genetic scientists, and support research that can bring an end to alcohol dependence.

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Portland Alcohol Research Center