Differential Striatal Dopamine Responses Following Oral Alcohol in Individuals at Varying Risk for Dependence
Article first published online: 6 AUG 2013
Copyright © 2013 by the Research Society on Alcoholism
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 38, Issue 1, pages 126–134, January 2014
How to Cite
Setiawan, E., Pihl, R. O., Dagher, A., Schlagintweit, H., Casey, K. F., Benkelfat, C. and Leyton, M. (2014), Differential Striatal Dopamine Responses Following Oral Alcohol in Individuals at Varying Risk for Dependence. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 38: 126–134. doi: 10.1111/acer.12218
- Issue published online: 21 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 6 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 16 OCT 2012
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Grant Number: CIHR MOP-64426
- CIHR and McGill University
- McGill University
The neurobiology of risk for alcohol use disorders (AUDs) remains poorly understood. Individual differences in vulnerability, though, have been indicated by subjective responses to alcohol ingestion and personality traits.
To investigate the relationship between these features and striatal dopamine (DA) responses to alcohol, we studied 26 healthy young social drinkers (21.3 ± 3.0 years old; 10.7 ± 8.8 drinks/wk) at varying risk for alcoholism. Each participant received 2 positron emission tomography [11C]raclopride scans after administration of either placebo or oral alcohol (1 ml/kg body weight of 94% alcohol, 0.75 g/kg) in a randomized and counterbalanced design.
Subjects with high-risk subjective responses to alcohol had more family members with AUDs, greater alcohol use problems, and, in response to the alcohol challenge, significant decreases in [11C]raclopride binding indicative of increased extracellular DA. In contrast, low-risk subjects exhibited increases in [11C]raclopride binding in response to alcohol. The results were similar when risk groups were based on personality traits, although statistically less robust.
Changes in striatal DA in response to alcohol ingestion may be a neurobiological marker of vulnerability to AUDs.