It is thought that certain actions of ethanol involve an interaction with endogenous opioids, including proopiomelanocortin‐derived pep‐tides such as β‐endorphin. To examine this possibility, we used a sensitive and specific assay for proopiomelanocortin mRNA to obtain an estimate of the activity of the endorphinergic system in the mediobasal hypothalamus and the pituitary of rats exposed for 10 days in an inhalation chamber to either ethanol or water. This protocol causes dependence in the ethanol‐exposed group, as demonstrated by the presence of withdrawal seizures after cessation of treatment. While ethanol treatment did not affect proopiomelanocortin mRNA levels in the pituitary, the level in hypothalamus was significantly lower in the ethanol‐treated animals than in controls. These results suggest that some effects of ethanol may involve the hypothalamic endorphinergic system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research|
|State||Published - Dec 1992|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health