Regional brain metabolism during alcohol intoxication

Gene Jack Wang, Nora D. Volkow, Dinko Franceschi, Joanna S. Fowler, Panayotis K. Thanos, Nobert Scherbaum, Naomi Pappas, Christopher T. Wong, Robert Hitzemann, Christoph A. Felder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Ethanol has a broad range of actions on many neurotransmitter systems. The depressant actions of ethanol in the brain are related in part to facilitation of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neuro- transmission via its interaction with the benzodiazepine/GABA receptor complex. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of ethanol on regional brain metabolism in 10 healthy right-handed men. The results were compared with those we previously published in a different group of 16 normal male subjects who received intravenous lorazepam, a benzodiazepine drug that also enhances GABA neutrotranmission. Methods: The subjects were scanned with positron emission tomography and [F-18] fluorodeoxyglucose twice: 40 min after the end of placebo (diet soda) or ethanol (0.75 g/kg) oral administration. Image data sets were analyzed by using both the region of interest and the statistical parametric mapping (SPM) approach, SPM was used to generate a difference image between baseline and ethanol, which we compared to the difference image between baseline and lorazepam (30μg/kg). Results: Ethanol significantly increased self-reports of 'high' (p ≤ 0.0001), dizziness (p ≤ 0.004), and intoxication (p ≤ 0.0001). Ethanol significantly decreased whole brain (-25 ± 6%, p ≤ 0.0001) and regional metabolism. Normalization of the regional measures by whole brain metabolism (relative measures) showed that ethanol decreased relative metabolic activity in occipital cortex (-4.9 ± 4.1%, p ≤ 0.006), whereas it increased relative metabolic act in left temporal cortex (+3.5 ± 2.9%, p ≤ 0.006) and left basal ganglia (+9 ± 6.3%, p ≤ 0.0009). SPM analyses revealed the same pattern of responses as the relative measures, showing decreases in occipital cortex and increases in left temporal cortex. Comparison of the relative measures and the SPM analyses obtained with lorazepam data revealed a similar pattern of effects, with relative decreases in occipital cortex (-7.8 ± 4.8%) and relative increases in left temporal cortex (+3.8 ± 5.7%). Lorazepam, but not ethanol, also decreased thalamic metabolism (-11.2 ± 7.2%). Conclusions: These results support similar though not identical mechanisms for the effects of alcohol and benzodiazepines on brain glucose metabolism. The fact that lorazepam, but not alcohol, reduced thalamic metabolism, an effect associated with sleepiness, could explain the higher sedative effects of lorazepam than of alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-829
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume24
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Alcoholic Intoxication
Metabolism
Lorazepam
Brain
Ethanol
Alcohols
Occipital Lobe
Temporal Lobe
Benzodiazepines
gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Aminobutyrates
Positron emission tomography
Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
Dizziness
GABA-A Receptors
Nutrition
Basal Ganglia
Hypnotics and Sedatives
Positron-Emission Tomography
Self Report

Keywords

  • [F-18] Fluorodeoxyglucose
  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cerebral Glucose Metabolism
  • Statistical Parametric Mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology

Cite this

Wang, G. J., Volkow, N. D., Franceschi, D., Fowler, J. S., Thanos, P. K., Scherbaum, N., ... Felder, C. A. (2000). Regional brain metabolism during alcohol intoxication. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 24(6), 822-829.

Regional brain metabolism during alcohol intoxication. / Wang, Gene Jack; Volkow, Nora D.; Franceschi, Dinko; Fowler, Joanna S.; Thanos, Panayotis K.; Scherbaum, Nobert; Pappas, Naomi; Wong, Christopher T.; Hitzemann, Robert; Felder, Christoph A.

In: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 24, No. 6, 06.2000, p. 822-829.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wang, GJ, Volkow, ND, Franceschi, D, Fowler, JS, Thanos, PK, Scherbaum, N, Pappas, N, Wong, CT, Hitzemann, R & Felder, CA 2000, 'Regional brain metabolism during alcohol intoxication', Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 822-829.
Wang GJ, Volkow ND, Franceschi D, Fowler JS, Thanos PK, Scherbaum N et al. Regional brain metabolism during alcohol intoxication. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2000 Jun;24(6):822-829.
Wang, Gene Jack ; Volkow, Nora D. ; Franceschi, Dinko ; Fowler, Joanna S. ; Thanos, Panayotis K. ; Scherbaum, Nobert ; Pappas, Naomi ; Wong, Christopher T. ; Hitzemann, Robert ; Felder, Christoph A. / Regional brain metabolism during alcohol intoxication. In: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2000 ; Vol. 24, No. 6. pp. 822-829.
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abstract = "Background: Ethanol has a broad range of actions on many neurotransmitter systems. The depressant actions of ethanol in the brain are related in part to facilitation of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neuro- transmission via its interaction with the benzodiazepine/GABA receptor complex. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of ethanol on regional brain metabolism in 10 healthy right-handed men. The results were compared with those we previously published in a different group of 16 normal male subjects who received intravenous lorazepam, a benzodiazepine drug that also enhances GABA neutrotranmission. Methods: The subjects were scanned with positron emission tomography and [F-18] fluorodeoxyglucose twice: 40 min after the end of placebo (diet soda) or ethanol (0.75 g/kg) oral administration. Image data sets were analyzed by using both the region of interest and the statistical parametric mapping (SPM) approach, SPM was used to generate a difference image between baseline and ethanol, which we compared to the difference image between baseline and lorazepam (30μg/kg). Results: Ethanol significantly increased self-reports of 'high' (p ≤ 0.0001), dizziness (p ≤ 0.004), and intoxication (p ≤ 0.0001). Ethanol significantly decreased whole brain (-25 ± 6{\%}, p ≤ 0.0001) and regional metabolism. Normalization of the regional measures by whole brain metabolism (relative measures) showed that ethanol decreased relative metabolic activity in occipital cortex (-4.9 ± 4.1{\%}, p ≤ 0.006), whereas it increased relative metabolic act in left temporal cortex (+3.5 ± 2.9{\%}, p ≤ 0.006) and left basal ganglia (+9 ± 6.3{\%}, p ≤ 0.0009). SPM analyses revealed the same pattern of responses as the relative measures, showing decreases in occipital cortex and increases in left temporal cortex. Comparison of the relative measures and the SPM analyses obtained with lorazepam data revealed a similar pattern of effects, with relative decreases in occipital cortex (-7.8 ± 4.8{\%}) and relative increases in left temporal cortex (+3.8 ± 5.7{\%}). Lorazepam, but not ethanol, also decreased thalamic metabolism (-11.2 ± 7.2{\%}). Conclusions: These results support similar though not identical mechanisms for the effects of alcohol and benzodiazepines on brain glucose metabolism. The fact that lorazepam, but not alcohol, reduced thalamic metabolism, an effect associated with sleepiness, could explain the higher sedative effects of lorazepam than of alcohol.",
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AU - Scherbaum, Nobert

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