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Brain link to liver could help treat problem drinking

Published 29/11/2016

Scientists have shown for the first time how a liver hormone called FGF21 plays an important role in setting our drink limits
Scientists have shown for the first time how a liver hormone called FGF21 plays an important role in setting our drink limits

A hormonal link between the liver and brain that regulates alcohol consumption may help scientists develop new treatments for problem drinkers, according to new research.

Scientists have shown for the first time how a liver hormone called FGF21 plays an important role in setting our drink limits.

DNA samples were analysed from more than 105,000 people of European descent, who were also questioned about their weekly drinking habits.

The study highlighted interaction between FGF21 and a gene in the brain called beta-Klotho.

In about 40% of participants, a particular beta-Klotho variant was associated with reduced alcohol consumption.

Co-author Professor Paul Elliott, from Imperial College London, said: "Our findings may eventually lead to new treatments for people whose health is being harmed by drinking."

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