If sexually deprived men were flies, they would have an excuse for turning to the bottle.
A new UCSF study found that male fruit flies whose sexual advances are rejected by female fruit flies "are driven to excessive alcohol consumption, drinking far more than comparable, sexually satisfied male flies."
And while some women might argue that the average human male is about as a advanced as a fruit fly, scientists say there are some similarities.
The study found that a tiny molecule on the fly's brain called neuropeptide F is responsible for the behavior.
As the levels of the molecule change, the flies' behavior does as well. Humans have a similar molecule called neuropeptide Y, which may connect social triggers to habits such as drinking.
"If neuropeptide Y turns out to be the transducer between the state of the psyche and the dr"ve to abuse alcohol and drugs, one could develop therapies to inhibit neuropeptide Y receptors,” Ulrike Heberlein, a professor of Anatomy and Neurology at UCSF, who led the research, said.
Clinical trials are underway to see if the delivery of neuropeptide Y can alleviate anxiety and other mood disorders as well as obesity.
Findings of the study were published this week in the journal Science.