To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Endogenous cannabinoids in amygdala and hippocampus in post-mortem brains of Cloninger type 1 and 2 alcoholics

Accumulating evidence continues to link certain aspects of the endogenous cannabinoid (EC) system with alcohol dependence, negative-reinforcement learning, and the modulation of stress responses. Specific alterations in brain regions that are related to stress and negative-reinforcement learning have been reported to exist in Cloninger type 1 and type 2 alcoholics.

To study possible differences in profiles of EC systems between Cloninger type 1 (n = 9) and type 2 (n = 8) alcoholics and non-alcoholic control subjects (n = 10), we analyzed post-mortem amygdala and hippocampus brain samples for several ECs by quantitative liquid chromatography with triple quadrupole mass-spectrometric detection.

A significant difference was found between these 3 groups in terms of EC profiles in the amygdala (p = 0.037). In particular, this difference was prominent for variations in docosahexaenoylethanolamide levels, which were significantly higher in type 1 alcoholics (p = 0.022) when compared to controls.

There was also a large negative correlation between anandamide concentration and mGlu1/5 receptor density in the hippocampi of Cloninger type 1 alcoholics (R = −0.88, p = 0.002), which was not seen in Cloninger type 2 alcoholics or in controls.

Although preliminary, and from relatively small diagnostic groups, these results suggest that the EC system profile may be altered in the hippocampus and amygdala of Cloninger type 1 alcoholics.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: