Neuroendocrine Evidence for Reduced Serotonergic Neurotransmission During Heavy Drinking


  • The study was supported by grants from the Swedish Medical Research Council (No. 4247) and the Swedish Alcohol Monopoly Foundation for Alcohol Research.

Reprint requests: Ulf Berggren, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Section of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, University of Göteborg, Mölndal Hospital, S-431 80 Mölndal, Sweden.


A fenfluramine (60-mg oral dose) challenge test was performed in 19 male heavy drinkers (mean daily consumption 88 g of pure alcohol). Twelve healthy males served as controls. The prolactin and temperature responses to fenfluramine were significantly reduced in the group of heavy drinkers. The results suggest impaired central serotonergic neurotransmission in alcoholism, possibly involving subsensitivity in various serotonin receptor subtypes.