Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


It is generally believed that acute and chronic ethanol (EtOH) administration alters the activity of catecholamines in the brain, however, the specific effects of EtOH on the dopaminergic system are disputed (I). Acute EtOH administration has been variously reported to decrease (2,3), increase (4,5), and cause no change (6 ,7) in dopamine (DA) synthesis and turnover. Likewise, chronic EtOH treatments have been reported to decrease (2,8) and increase (9, 10) DA synthesis and turnover. Many of these apparently conflicting results are explained by the use of different animal models (rat (2, 3,6,7,10), rabbit (6), and mouse (4,5,9)), different methods of EtOH administration (intraperitoneal (3 ,4,6,7), oral (2,5) , and inhalation (9)), and no assurance of alcoholic dependence with chronic exposure (2, I0). Further, the majority of these studies were carried out prior to the development of a very sensitive high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) technique which can detect minute amounts of DA, dihyroxyphenylalanine (DO PA), and dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) (11 ,12).

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