By HealthDay News HealthDay Reporter

Updated on June 15, 2022

MONDAY, July 15, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- An enzyme called adenylyl cyclase may detect recent alcohol consumption or marijuana use, and may also identify people at risk of depression, says a University of Colorado Health Sciences study.

However, the enzyme doesn't seem to be a good indicator of whether a person may have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, says the study, published in the July issue of Alcoholism: Clincial and Experimental Research.

The study included 1,500 people in five countries who were classified as either alcohol-dependent or alcohol abusers. Adenylyl cyclase activity levels were measured using blood tests.

The activity of adenylyl cyclase was found to be more sensitive in people who had a family history of alcoholism than people without such history. However, the researchers found the enzyme's activity levels fluctuated greatly, and proved extremely sensitive to recent drinking.

That ruled out using the enzyme as a way to assess whether someone has a genetic risk for alcoholism.

The enzyme's activity levels dropped in people who didn't drink for days or weeks.

Adenylyl cyclase activity was also high in chronic marijuana users, the study says. The researchers add they also found people who have a history of major depression are more likely to have low adenylyl cyclase activity levels.

More information

The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information offers useful insight on why alcoholism tends to run in families.

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